Special Content

Special article vol.30

Swachhta Pakhwada Update

The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) observed its second Swachhta Pakhwada from October 1st-15th, 2016, demonstrating that the government sector is leading by example to clean up the country and promote hygiene and sanitation among its employees.

As the name suggests, Swacchta Pakhwada denotes a fortnight-long cleanliness drive.  It was envisaged by the Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi to keep the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) momentum continuing throughout the year.  Each Ministry has been allocated dates to observe the thematic cleaning programme.

As part of the Swachhta Pakhwada, MDWS launched a nationwide audio-visual campaign featuring Swachh Bharat Mission brand Ambassador, Mr. Amitabh Bachchan. The versatile actor was featured in 3 creatives that will be a part of the radio / television campaign to promote behaviour change by stressing the importance of making and using toilets.

Among the many activities carried out by MDWS in the Ministry premises,was a massive cleanliness drive on October 7th.  This involved cleaning of areas near Suneherepula DTC Bus Depot, opposite Dayal Singh College on Lodhi Road in New Delhi.  More than a thousand people from MDWS, CPWD (Central Public Works Department) and MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) were involved in the 2-hour long shramdaan exercise. Other agencies that supported the cleanliness drive were CISF (Central Industrial Security Force), CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force), Ministry of Minority Affairs, BSF (Border Security Force) and ITBF (Indo-Tibetan Border Force).  The activity was led by the Secretary, MDWS with all senior officers joining in.

The Ministry has also developed a Village Swachhta Index by which Gram Panchayats (GP) carry out a self-rating exercise based on various cleanliness parameters. The MDWS has issued instructions to all States to kick start the activity at the earliest. Further, IMIS has been enabled to capture information and mobile application for citizen rating has been made available.

The Village Swachhta Index was developed based on a large scale study during which around 70,000 households were surveyed to understand their perception of cleanliness.  Villages will arrive at a Swachhta score based on the percentage of households having access to safe toilets and using them in their village; litter lying around the households and in public places; and stagnant waste water around the households. 

In addition, MDWS has put in place guidelines, templates and forms for organizing Gram Sabha meetings, and collecting data to help them arrive at the Village Swachhta Index.  Citizens are also encouraged to download the SwachhApp to view status of Swachhta and rate cleanliness in any village of India. On 6th October a poetry and poster competition was held for the staff of MDWS and on 14th October, a competition was organized to select the cleanest section office in the MDWS.

During the same fortnight, the Ministry of Panchayati Raj held capacity building programmes for elected representatives and functionaries of Panchayati Raj Institutions for achieving total sanitation.  On the other hand, the Ministry of Rural Development under the MGNREGA programme has adopted 50 villages across 8 States for implementing solid and liquid waste management activities, replicating the Tamil Nadu model.

This time, Swachhta Pakhwada was implemented by MDWS together with the Ministries of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj.  However, MDWS plays a convening and coordinating role for the drive around the year.  It has a responsibility to make sure that Pakhwada activities are innovative, far reaching and sustainable.

That said, the success of Swachhta Pakhwada would depend on involvement of all people at every level of governance; so that all citizens see the government in action and be inspired to do the same.  It is hoped that these activities will be embraced by the government and private sector so that sanitation will remain high on the nation’s priority on a regular basis, contributing to its progress and well being of its people.

National Consultation on Solid and Liquid Waste Management

A National Consultation on Solid and Liquid Waste Management was organized at the Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi. It included a presentation on solid and liquid Waste Management followed by an open discussion and feedback from field workers and beneficiaries. Later, addressing a press conference, Mr. Ram Kripal Yadav, Minister of State for Rural Development, called for making the nation wide cleanliness campaign, a mass movement to fulfill the Prime Minister's dream of a Swachh Bharat by 2019.  He said without people's participation, this would not be possible. He said, the Swachh Bharat campaign would not be confined to building toilets. It would adopt a holistic approach. He said every nook and corner of the villages have to be cleaned. He appreciated the efforts made by Tamil Nadu and Telangana in the area of rural sanitation. The Minister released three audio visuals featuring Amitabh Bachchan as well as a Swachchta song. The Secretary Panchayat Raj Mr. J.S. Mathur said, cleanliness has to be ingrained in the psyche of the rural people. He said gram sabhas all over the country have been asked to give priority to sanitation. It has to be done practically. He said, states have been asked to make sanitation a year long exercise and not merely confined to once in a while celebration. Sanitation has to be a part of all development programmes in the villages across the country. Secretary, Rural Development Mr. Amarjeet Sinha said, woman self help groups in the villages are ready to take up the initiative of cleanliness. Women are being involved in Swachh Bharat campaign in a big way.

1 lakh villages, 37 districts are  Open Defecation Free

Union Minister of Rural Development, Drinking Water & Sanitation and Panchayati Raj Mr. Narendra Singh Tomar and Chief Minister of Gujarat, Mr. Vijay Rupani, declared the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi – Porbandar district – Open Defecation Free (ODF). The announcement was made during a mass rally in Porbandar to dedicate this declaration to the memory of the Mahatma on his 147th birth anniversary, and the second anniversary of the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). The rally began from Sudama Mandir and culminated at the event venue, the Nagar Palika Party plot, Chaupati, Porbandar. Two other districts of Gujarat – Mehsana and Narmada – were also declared ODF, along with 30 taluks and 3000 Gram Panchayats in the State.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Tomar said that the nation witnessed a historic moment as the birthplace of the Mahatma was declared ODF on his Jayanti. He also declared as ODF the birthplace of the Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi – Mehsana district – on the 2nd anniversary of Swachh Bharat Mission, the Prime Minister’s flagship programme which he is leading from the front across the nation. He thanked the Prime Minister for launching the Swachh Bharat Mission and thanked the Chief Minister of Gujarat for taking it forward in such a big way in his State. He hoped that a 100 percent ODF will be achieved in Gujarat well before October 2nd, 2019.

He informed that 1 lakh villages and 37 districts of the country are now ODF. He said that this was proof that Swachh Bharat had truly become a jan aandolan (people’s movement) With focus on behaviour change rather than simply construction of toilets, he said he was confident that the Government of India and the people of India would achieve the goals of the Swachh Bharat Mission by October 2nd, 2019.

The Union Minister for Urban Development and Information & Broadcasting Mr. M Venkaiah Naidu also addressed the event via video conferencing. He said that by making Porbandar 100 percent ODF, the people of Gujarat have given an interim gift to Mahatma Gandhi. He said that the final gift will be given by the people of India on October 2nd, 2019 by making the entire country Swachh.

Celebrations of the 2nd anniversary of SBM were held across the country today, with ODF declarations and mass mobilisation activities in many parts of the country’s including in towns and villages. Special Swachhta events with community participation have been held at the 10 iconic places which have been taken up for higher cleanliness standards by the Government of India under SBM.

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan at Rashtrapati Bhavan

The President of India, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee flagged-off a march for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan on October 2, 2016 at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Officers and staff of Rashtrapati Bhavan and their family members participated in the event. On the occasion, the President and those present released balloons in the air before the President flagged off the march as a symbol of the commitment of Rashtrapati Bhavan to the Swachh Bharat Mission.

Addressing the gathering, the President said that synchronizing the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan with Gandhiji’s birthday is most appropriate as he had always emphasized on adoption of cleanliness in our daily lives. Gandhiji said that ‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness’.

Centre provides over Rs 1600 crore to Railways for bio toilets & CCTV cameras

Railways has received Rs.1655 crore  from the government for the installation of CCTVs at stations and bio-toilets in trains across the country. Railway Board Chairman AK Mital said, Rs.1155 crore  has been given to the railways for installing bio-toilets in trains under Swachh Bharat Mission and Rs. 500 crore  under Nirbhaya Fund for putting all major stations under CCTV surveilance, for enhancing passenger safety and security.

He said, the CCTV system will enable the railways to keep a watch on unscrupulous elements at rail premises, including trafficking of children. Mr Mital said, railways has set the target of making the entire network as discharge-free zone by September 2019. He said, apart from cleanliness and environment-friendly effect, the life of tracks will increase by way of reduction in rusting of rails as fitting of bio-toilets will prevent open discharge on the track. Railway Board Chairman said, 40 thousand bio-toilets are being installed in trains and 30 thousand more will be installed by the end of the current fiscal. He said, all new proposed trains like Tejas, Humsafar will be equipped with bio-toilets.

Bihar village works on open defecation removal

Swachh Bharat Mission has been implemented in Katihar district of Bihar. Toilets construction is in full swing in the Shishiya Panchayat of Brari Block under the mission.

Namami Gange Scheme is being implemented effectively in Shishiya village of Katihar and it has stared bearing fruits. All efforts are being made to declare Shishiya village open defecation-free. Shishiya village of Katihar district is becoming hallmark for in implementation of Swachh Bharat Mission in Bihar.  Toilet construction program is being undertaken in 27 Panchayats of four blocks of the district. Targets have been set and work is in progress on war footing in all the Panchayats.

On 2 October, toilets construction works were done simultaneously in 100 households under the direct monitoring of District Magistrate and representatives were on the mission to convince people for making the village open defecation-free. In the first phase, 27 Panchayats of Brari, Kursala, Manihari and Ahmadabad blocks were selected under the Swachh Bharat Mission. All efforts are being made to remove dirt and garbage from villages lying on the banks of river Ganga and the goal is to clean Ganga.