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Karnataka Elections 2018: In The Run Up To Assembly Elections, Promises Of A ‘Swachh Karnataka’ Find A Place In Party Manifestos

Sanitation and hygiene became important issues for Karnataka Elections 2018, as though rural sanitation has seen considerable improvement in the last five years, urban Karnataka still lags behind in improving individual and public sanitation

Better sanitation and hygiene is a part of election manifestos of all major parties in Karnataka Elections
Highlights
  • Election manifestos of both BJP and Congress promise to build more toilets
  • Both the parties’ election manifestos also promise cheaper sanitary napkins
  • Urban sanitation in Karnataka lags behind with coverage of little over 50%

New Delhi: Battlelines are drawn and election fever is at its peak in Karnataka as after the polling on May 12, the state awaits results on May 12. Apart from the political rhetoric, it is not just jobs, economic growth, poverty alleviation or infrastructure development that is on the agenda of the political parties, this time. As the state awaits the election results, the recently released manifestos of all major parties like Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Janata Dal (Secular) (JDS), reveal that  better access to sanitation and hygiene have also become the talking points in the run up to the state elections.

The manifestos of both principle opposition party BJP and ruling Congress include promises of building more toilets and providing sanitary napkins to women at low rates.

Here are all the poll promises with regards to ‘swachhta’ from the incumbent Congress government party manifesto:

– More toilets to be built across the state

–  Improve working conditions of Safai Karmacharis with direct credit of salary, free health insurance, free housing and complete ban on manual scavenging.

– Free sanitary napkins to women Below the Poverty Line (BPL) and girls in government colleges and polytechnic institutes.

–  Installation of sanitary napkin vending machines across all colleges and polytechnic institutes, schools and public toilets.

– To reduce the prices of sanitary napkins overall, Congress would work towards abolishing taxes on sanitary napkins

Rural sanitation has improved vastly under the present government. We will further improve urban sanitation once we win. Menstrual hygiene is of equal importance to us and we will provide more sanitary napkin vending machines so that women can avail cost effective sanitary pads throughout the state. We will also employ a comprehensive solid waste management strategy to ensure all cities and their surroundings are waste free, said a Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee member.

Here are all the things BJP Manifesto promises in terms of toilet construction:

– Construction of individual household toilets for every household

– Disabled-friendly toilets across metro stations and bus stops

– Building functional toilets in major tourist spots in the state.

–  Specifically for capital Bengaluru, build more than 2,000 public toilets, with 10 public toilets per ward, and make the city a zero waste one.

In major cities across the state, the sanitation scenario has not improved in the past five years. Even in cities like Bengaluru, there are not enough public toilets. If we win, we will provide every household with a toilet in Karnataka, across both rural and urban areas, said BJP Spokesperson S. Suresh Kumar.

In December 2017, a survey had declared that Bengaluru was short by over 1,100 public toilets. The BJP party manifesto also promised the construction of sanitary complexes across rural and urban Karnataka.

Menstrual hygiene also found a mention in the BJP manifesto. The party promises free sanitary napkins across the state for women belonging to below poverty level (BPL) group and students, and for Re. 1 to other women.

Janata Dal (Secular)’s manifesto promises to process both solid waste and electronic waste. Promising to establish a potent waste to wealth model, the JDS manifesto says that it will generate employment for over 10,000 families in the Mysuru district at an investment of Rs 1,000 crore. For e-waste management, JDS promises to scale up segregation and provide employment to over one lakh people.

Debutant Aam Aadmi Party, while not releasing a full manifesto, has also promised to better the sanitation conditions in the state if it comes to power. AAP candidate R. Siddagangaiah said that lack of clean water in Bengaluru was a problem that had persisted for decades and if voted to power, AAP will address the direct flow of untreated sewage in the city.

Rural Karnakata has sanitation coverage of 87.74 per cent, and over 36 lakh toilets have been built since the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan began in 2014. Though the state’s performance in rural sanitation has been impressive, five districts continue to have sanitation coverage of below 50 per cent. The state’s urban sanitation scenario remains in a bad shape, with coverage of only 50.84 per cent. A little over 41,000 toilets have been built in urban Karnataka in the last four years. So, the job for the next government when it comes to sanitation, hygiene and waste management is cutout. Now it’s a wait till May 15 to find out who will form the government.

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