- Rural areas of Haryana and Uttarakhand were declared open defecation free
- Madhya Pradesh was the best performer in Swachh Survekshan 2017
- More than 4 crore toilets have been built in villages, till July 2017
The Union Budget 2017 allocated Rs 16,428 crore for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. The rural wing of the programme was allocated the bulk, Rs 13,948.27 crore. The urban budget was increased mildly by to Rs 2,480 crore. The most prestigious achievement for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan for the ongoing year of 2017-18 has been the declaration of rural areas of Haryana and Uttarakhand as open defecation free (ODF), taking the total number of ODF states in India to five.
Here are some of the key highlights of the ongoing year of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan:
- Rural Haryana And Uttarakhand Go ODF | The highlight of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has been the eradication of open defecation from rural areas of Haryana and Uttarakhand. The announcement was made in June 2017 and the two states joined the already existing trio of Sikkim, Kerala and Himachal Pradesh, taking the ODF states tally to five.
- Swachh Survekshan 2017 | The Swachh Survekshan of 2017 sprung up some surprises, with Indore ranked as the India’s cleanest city among the 434 surveyed. Madhya Pradesh had the maximum number of clean cities with Madhya Pradesh had the maximum number of clean cities with 35 in number. Uttar Pradesh was the worst performer, with 50 cities in the bottom 100.
- Swachh Survekshan Gramin 2017 | Following in the Urban Ministry’s footsteps, the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation also launched the Swachh Survekshan Gramin in August 2017, which will survey all the 534 districts of India and rank them on the basis of sanitation and cleanliness.
- 4 Crore Toilets Built In Rural India | Till July 2017, 56 lakh household toilets were built in 2017, taking the number of toilets built to over 4 crore in rural India. Ove 25 lakh (25,26,261) toilets have been built in cities and towns.
- More Urban Areas To Go ODF | The latter half of 2017 holds an interesting premise for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Urban areas of 9 more states will go ODF by October.
The ODF status of Haryana and Uttarakhand are important success steps for the campaign. The former with its large rural population has shown that eradicating open defecation from rural areas is challenging but not impossible, said Avinash Kumar, Director, Water Aid India.
More than 4 crore toilets in rural India have been built within three years of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. The target to go completely open defecation free by October 2019 however, remains a difficult challenge to meet up to as more than 7 crore toilet constructions in rural India alone will have to be completed within two years. In urban India, lack of space to construct individual household toilets is still a challenge many civic bodies come across, and they will have to find their way around to focus more on community toilet construction to eradicate open defecation from towns and cities. The states of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are still poor performers in rural sanitation and will have to step up if they are to achieve the ODF target by 2019.
Waste management is another aspect of the Abhiyan and segregation of waste is a cause being championed all across India. The massive waste segregation drive launched by the Ministry of Urban Development on the occasion of World Environment Day on June 5 wanted to popularise the concept of waste segregation across India and asked people to take up the practice. Much remains to be done in the coming two years, to fulfill all the objectives of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. If the promised achievement indeed comes true, then the dream of an India independent from open defecation will soon take bold steps towards reality.