So far, 61 districts and more than 1,14,332 villages have been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF).
The Centre is committed to 300,000 villages, 200 districts and six states and Union Territories being Open Defecation Free by 19 November 2017, World Toilet Day.
Speaking at the Global Citizen Festival, Drinking Water and Sanitation Secretary Parameswaran Iyer said the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) is “arguably the biggest mass mobilisation and social change campaign in the history of mankind”.
“As India moves towards becoming an economic superpower, it is absolutely critical for us to rise above the practice of Open Defecation, so that our children can be healthier and achieve their maximum productivity,” Parameswaran Iyer added.
At the same event Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the state government is aiming to declare Maharashtra as ODF state by March 2018.
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was officially launched on October 2, 2014 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with, among others, an aim to eradicate open defecation from the country by 2019.
The programme is divided into two categories–Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) and Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban).
The Ministry for Drinking Water and Sanitation is looking at the rural part of the scheme, and the Urban Development Ministry is implementing the programme in urban areas.
For the rural programme, the government is working on capacity building of key stakeholders such as collectors, zila panchayats and others.