banega swachh india - villagesFour years of #SwachhBharat Mission, more than 5 lakh villages, 500 districts have achieved open defecation free status

New Delhi: “Since childhood, I used to wake up early in the morning to accompany my mom and sisters to the fields. Because that was the only time which was allotted to everyone of us to relieve ourselves. I remember, my mother had told me that we can only defecate either at morning or late at night. But, from last one year, our fate has changed. We now have a toilet at home which we can use whenever we want,” says 36 year old Asha Kapila from Bihar’s first ODF district Sitamarhi.

Not just Asha, today, thousands and thousands of women in India have got their basic right back – a toilet at home. According to the recently released statistics by Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, more than 5 lakh (5,11,087) villages and 530 districts have achieved the open defecation free status. Moreover, from mere 38 per cent in 2014, today country’s rural sanitation coverage has achieved the mark of 95 per cent.

Also Read: Bill Gates Praises PM Narendra Modi For The Success Of Swachh Bharat Mission

The Ministry took to Twitter to congratulate the rural wing of the sanitation project for achieving this big milestone,

The #SwachhBharatMission crossed yet another milestone. More than 5 lakh villages are now #OpenDefecationFree. Let this momentum continue towards achieving our common goal of building a #Swachh and #Swasth Bharat.

Sharing the statistics of the districts that have gone ODF, the ministry added,

We are inching closer towards our goal of building a #SwachhBharat. Crossing yet another milestone, more than 500 districts have been declared #OpenDefecationFree.

Also Read: Cleanliness Programmes Laudable But Tackling ‘Health’ And ‘Malnutrition’ Poses A Challenge For India: UNICEF

Till now, nearly 9 crores toilets have been constructed in India, as a result, 25 States and Union Territories have become ODF. More than 1 crore toilets have been built in this year alone. Even the slow movers of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan – Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have stepped up their swachh game. In just one year’s time, Bihar has doubled its rural sanitation coverage, till October 2017, the state had poor sanitation coverage of 32.35 per cent and now it has improved to 65.44 per cent.

Whereas, in Uttar Pradesh (UP), the rural areas of the state had only 35.20 per cent of sanitation coverage till early this year, but now, it stands at 97.82 per cent. The state has also trained over 2 lakh (2,20,000) raj mistris (masons) to help construct the toilets in the state.

The current focus of Swachh Bharat Mission in the country is to keep the momentum of the campaign going at the same speed. Moreover, along with building more toilets, the focus is on to sustain the ODF tags of the regions that have been declared free from the practice of open defecation successfully, said an official from the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollutionclean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.

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