- Railways began the eradication of casual discharge of faecal waste
- A record 739 towns and cities were declared ODF by the end of the year
- Over 2 crore toilets were built in rural areas during this year
For the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, 2016-17 began on a positive note as the Central government allocated Rs 11,300 crore for the programme. The rural wing was allocated Rs 9,000 crore, while the urban wing was allocated Rs 2,300 crore.The focus on building of toilets was strengthened, but rather than just constructing toilets, administrative officials as well as NGOs wanted to strengthen the ongoing activities to bring in behavioural change among people. 2016-17 was also the year of change in sanitation across other major Indian sectors such as railways and tourism.
Here are some of the key highlights of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan Year Three:
- Railways Go Swachh | During the launch of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the Prime Minister had specifically mentioned that apart from the nodal ministries, the other ministries too would have a pivotal role to play in the nationwide cleanliness campaign. The Indian Railways was one of the dirtiest railways tracks in the world, with open defecation being rampant along the tracks, as well as express trains often discharging faecal waste on the tracks. The railways installed 49,000 bio-toilets by December 2016 and planned to cover all trains with bio-toilets by 2019.
- Launch Of Swachh Iconic Places | Another project which saw its inception in 2016 was the Swachh Iconic Places initiative, where 100 places of spiritual and cultural importance would be specially cleaned up. As of July 2017, 20 such places have been shortlisted to be cleaned up specially.
- Over 60% Rural Sanitation Coverage | The rural sanitation coverage by the end of 2016-17 stood at 61 per cent, and the number of toilets built in villages were over 2 crore (2,18,37,008) for the same time period. Over 21.7 lakh (21,69,686) toilets was the number of toilets built in urban areas.
- Urban Areas Of Two States Go ODF | This period also saw the states of Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh declaring their urban areas open defecation free. A total of 739 towns and cities were declared ODF by the end of March 2017.
2016 was the most important year for the Abhiyan yet. The sanitation campaigns and activities began spreading across ministries. The problem of unsafe sanitation is not restricted to villages or cities but across several public spaces. The participation of other ministries showed that sanitation was not the sole responsibility of any particular ministry, but the collective efforts of every ministry and every individual, said Satyabrata Sahu, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.