Swachh Bharat Abhiyan: Progress, Challenges, and the Way Ahead

swachh_bharat
swachh bharat abhiyan

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was launched on 2nd October 2014 by the Indian government to make India a clean and open defecation-free country by 2nd October 2019, on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The campaign aimed to ensure that every citizen has access to basic sanitation facilities such as toilets, waste management, and safe drinking water. The campaign has a two-fold objective: first, to eliminate open defecation and second, to create awareness among people about the importance of cleanliness and hygiene in their day-to-day lives. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has a deadline of 2nd October 2019, which marks the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, who was a strong advocate of cleanliness and sanitation.

The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan involves the participation of all sectors of society, including the government, citizens, and non-governmental organizations. The government has launched various initiatives under the campaign, such as construction of toilets in rural and urban areas, waste management programs, and awareness campaigns. One of the major components of the campaign is the construction of toilets in rural and urban areas to eliminate open defecation. The government has launched the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) and Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) for the construction of toilets in rural and urban areas, respectively. The government has set a target of constructing 111 million toilets across the country.

The campaign also emphasizes the importance of waste management and has launched several initiatives to tackle the problem of waste. The government has launched the Swachh Bharat Kosh, a fund to mobilize resources for the campaign, and has also launched the Swachh Bharat Run, a marathon to create awareness about the campaign.

Progress

The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has made significant progress in the last few years. The construction of more than 10 crore toilets in rural areas has led to a significant increase in the access of sanitation facilities. This has helped in reducing the prevalence of open defecation, which was a significant issue in rural areas. As per the government data, the coverage of toilets in rural areas has increased from 38.7% in 2014 to over 100% by the end of 2019.

In urban areas, the construction of community and public toilets has increased access to sanitation facilities for the urban poor who did not have access to such facilities earlier. Under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, more than 6.5 lakh community and public toilets have been constructed in urban areas across the country. This has helped in improving the overall cleanliness of urban areas, particularly in slums and other low-income areas. Another significant achievement of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is the increase in public awareness of the importance of cleanliness and hygiene. The campaign has helped in changing the mindset of people towards cleanliness and hygiene, particularly in rural areas. As a result, people are more aware of the benefits of using toilets and are more likely to use them.

The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has also led to the formation of more than 4 lakh Swachhagrahi volunteers, who are working to create awareness about cleanliness and hygiene in their communities. These volunteers have been instrumental in promoting behavior change among people and have helped in sustaining the gains made by the campaign.

Challenge

Despite the progress made by the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, several challenges still exist that need to be addressed to achieve the campaign’s ultimate goal of making India a clean and open defecation-free country.

One of the significant challenges is the lack of effective waste management systems. A large amount of waste is generated every day, but there are inadequate disposal facilities to handle it. The majority of the waste is disposed of in open spaces or dumped in landfills, leading to environmental degradation and health hazards. There is a need for the government to focus on building and maintaining waste management facilities, particularly in urban areas, to ensure effective disposal of waste.

Another challenge is the lack of proper maintenance of public toilets, which leads to unhygienic conditions. The toilets that were constructed under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan need to be regularly cleaned and maintained to ensure that they are in good condition. However, due to inadequate resources, many public toilets are not adequately maintained, leading to unhygienic conditions and a lack of usage.

Moreover, changing behavior patterns and promoting the habit of cleanliness among citizens is also a significant challenge. Although the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has been successful in creating awareness about the importance of cleanliness and hygiene, it is challenging to change ingrained behavior patterns overnight. It will take sustained efforts and a long-term approach to promoting behavior change among citizens.

Way Ahead

To sustain the gains made by the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and achieve its ultimate goal, the government needs to focus on building and maintaining waste management facilities, particularly in urban areas, to ensure effective disposal of waste. In addition, there is a need for sustained efforts and a long-term approach to promoting behavior change among citizens. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan needs to expand its focus on urban areas to achieve the campaign’s goals in these areas.

Overview of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

The campaign involves the participation of all sectors of society, including the government, citizens, and non-governmental organizations. The government has launched various initiatives under the campaign, such as construction of toilets in rural and urban areas, waste management programs, and awareness campaigns.

swachh bharat mission

The campaign also emphasizes the importance of waste management and has launched several initiatives to tackle the problem of waste. The government has launched the Swachh Bharat Kosh, a fund to mobilize resources for the campaign, and has also launched the Swachh Bharat Run, a marathon to create awareness about the campaign.

Challenges Faced by Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

While the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has been successful in creating awareness about the importance of cleanliness and hygiene, there are still several challenges that the campaign faces. Some of the major challenges are:

  1. Lack of Awareness: Despite the government’s efforts to create awareness, there is still a lack of awareness among people in rural areas about the importance of cleanliness and hygiene. Many people in rural areas still practice open defecation, which poses a major challenge for the campaign.
  2. Inadequate Infrastructure: Inadequate infrastructure is a major challenge for the campaign. The construction of toilets in rural areas has been slow due to lack of funds, lack of skilled labor, and inadequate infrastructure.
  3. Behavioural Change: Changing people’s behavior towards cleanliness and hygiene is a major challenge. Many people still do not see the need to maintain cleanliness in their surroundings and do not practice good hygiene habits.
  4. Lack of Participation: While the campaign has encouraged citizen participation, there is still a lack of participation from the public in many areas. People need to actively participate in cleanliness drives to make the campaign a success.
  5. Waste Management: Waste management is a major challenge for the campaign. Many cities and towns lack proper waste management systems, which leads to the accumulation of garbage and pollution.
  6. Political Will: The success of the campaign depends on the political will of the government and its ability to sustain the campaign beyond its initial launch. The government needs to allocate sufficient resources and implement effective policies to ensure the success of the campaign.

The Role of Citizens in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

Citizen participation is a key component of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. The campaign aims to make India a clean and hygienic country, and the participation of citizens is essential to achieve this goal. Here are some of the ways in which citizens can contribute to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan:

  1. Maintaining Cleanliness: The simplest way citizens can contribute is by maintaining cleanliness in their surroundings. Citizens can make a conscious effort to keep their homes, streets, and public places clean by disposing of waste properly and avoiding littering.
  2. Building Toilets: One of the primary objectives of the campaign is to eliminate open defecation. Citizens can help by building toilets in their homes and neighborhoods. They can also encourage others to do the same.
  3. Participating in Cleanliness Drives: Citizens can participate in cleanliness drives organized by local authorities, non-governmental organizations, and citizen groups. These drives are an excellent opportunity to clean up public places such as parks, streets, and schools.
  4. Spreading Awareness: Citizens can also help by spreading awareness about the importance of cleanliness and hygiene. They can use social media to share information and create awareness among their friends and family.
  5. Reporting Non-Compliance: Citizens can report non-compliance with cleanliness and hygiene standards to the concerned authorities. They can also report instances of littering, open defecation, and other unhygienic practices.
  6. Encouraging Others: Finally, citizens can encourage others to participate in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. They can motivate their friends, family, and neighbors to join the campaign and make India a cleaner and more hygienic country.

Conclusion

The campaign aims to eliminate open defecation, provide sanitation facilities, and create awareness about the importance of cleanliness and hygiene. Despite the challenges that the campaign faces, including lack of awareness, inadequate infrastructure, and waste management issues, citizen participation is essential to achieve the goal of a clean and hygienic India. Citizens can contribute by maintaining cleanliness, building toilets, participating in cleanliness drives, spreading awareness, reporting non-compliance, and encouraging others to participate in the campaign.

FAQs

What is Swachh Bharat Abhiyan?

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBA) is a national cleanliness campaign launched by the Government of India in 2014. The campaign aims to make India a clean and hygienic country by eliminating open defecation, providing sanitation facilities, and creating awareness about cleanliness and hygiene.

What are the challenges faced by Swachh Bharat Abhiyan?

Despite the progress made, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan faces several challenges, including lack of awareness, inadequate infrastructure, waste management issues, and non-compliance by citizens. Many people still prefer open defecation due to cultural and traditional practices, and some areas lack proper sanitation facilities. Waste management is also a major challenge, with improper disposal of waste leading to environmental pollution and health hazards.

What has been the progress of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan so far?

Since its launch in 2014, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has made significant progress in improving the cleanliness and hygiene in India. According to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, over 10 crore household toilets and 67 lakh public toilets have been built under the campaign, and over 6 lakh villages have been declared open defecation free. The Swachh Survekshan surveys have also been conducted annually to assess the progress made in cleanliness and hygiene in urban areas.

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