Urban Sanitation Journey Though Well Begun, Is Far From Over: Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh PuriTalking about Urban India's sanitation, Hardeep Singh Puri said that 1400 cities in India have already been certified ODF+, and nearly 500 cities have been certified ODF++

New Delhi: Sanitation journey of India’s urban areas is far from over. It began well, but a lot needs to be done and met. To meet the desired goals and targets of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and making urban areas sustainable, each one of us will need to take more initiatives. This was Union Urban Development Minister Hardeep Singh Puri’s message at the National Conference on Future of Urban Sanitation in India organiSed in the national capital today. The union minister said,

Urban sanitation journey, though well begun, is far from over. It will require our concerted and collective efforts to ensure that we can leave behind for our future generation cities and public spaces that are inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Also Read: Cabinet Approves Swachh Bharat Phase-II

Further talking about India’s sanitation scenario and efforts made over the past few years in making Swachh Bharat Mission a jan-andolan, he added,

We have partnered with Google to upload more than 58,000 public toilet blocks across more than 2,600 cities on Google maps. I am happy to say that nearly 1400 cities today in India have already been certified ODF+, and nearly 500 cities have been certified ODF++

Talking about the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government flagship scheme Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Mr Puri said that in 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi set in motion programmes like Swachh Bharat Mission and housing for all with the vision for sustainable development across the board is one that India recognised and mobilised upon quickly.

Also Read: Swachh Bharat For All? Despite Community Toilets Built, Access Remains An Issue For Slum Dwellers In Delhi

A Look Back At Swachh Bharat Mission

Five years, down the line, the target of Swachh Bharat Mission has almost been achieved, according to the government, which claims rural India is ODF with construction of over 10 crore toilets and over 94 per cent of the urban local bodies are ODF and the government has been able to construct nearly 60.5 lakh individual households toilets under the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban).

Also Read: On Ground Reports: Thousands Of Toilets Built Since 2014 Yet Access To Toilets Remains An Issue In The National Capital

In this year’s budget speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced that this time the government will focus on waste management and attaining open defecation free plus status which means total sanitation in terms of solid waste management in addition to sustaining the open defecation free tag. The allocated budget for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is Rs. 12,300 crores for the financial year of 2020-2021. Last year, Rs. 9,994 crores was allocated for Swachh Bharat Mission Rural and Rs. 2,650 crores for Swachh Bharat Mission Urban, with a total allocation of Rs. 12,644 crores for the campaign. This time around, budget allocation saw a decrease of Rs. 344 crores in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan allocation from last year.

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