New Delhi: Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen (SBM-G), the flagship programme of the Government of India, today recorded another milestone – of 1,01,462 villages declaring themselves as ODF (open defecation free) Plus. These villages are sustaining their ODF status and have systems in place for managing solid and/or liquid waste and they would continue on their sanitation journey as they work towards making their villages cleaner, greener and healthier.
Almost eight years ago, Hon’ble Prime Minister Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Mission from the ramparts of the Red Fort, with a vision to make the country open defecation free as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary. Under his visionary leadership, the country came together in the world’s largest behaviour change campaign and achieved its aim, and on 2nd October 2019, 11 years ahead of the SDG-6 target set by the United Nations, rural India became open defecation free. However, this was not the end of the mission, it laid the foundation to take on a much more challenging, yet necessary task; the need to ensure sampoorn swachhata or complete cleanliness, to make the country’s villages ODF Plus.
One lakh ODF Plus villages is no small achievement, given that the process of solid and liquid waste management is technical in nature, is relatively new to rural India and is a second-generation issue. Provision of toilets has led to the need to manage faecal waste. Also, with potable water supply, more greywater is being generated that needs to be treated and reused; and with lifestyle changes and the use of packaged food products, the menace of plastic waste is rearing its ugly head in rural areas and that needs to be managed effectively.
And this is what the second Phase of the Swachh Bharat Mission-Grameen (SBM-G) is about – to appropriately manage all types of waste that will not only make our villages clean, but also creating avenues for generating incomes for rural households and creating new livelihood opportunities, while fulfilling the requirements of the Sustainable Development Goals. The SBM-G reinforces the Government’s commitment to promote hygiene and safe sanitation and thereby improve the quality of life of its citizens.
At the outset, DDWS had introduced intermediate stages in the process of declaring a village as ODF Plus, given that all villages may not fulfil all criteria under the verticals of biodegradable waste management (BWM), plastic waste management (PWM), greywater management (GWM) and faecal sludge management (FSM) before declaring a village as ODF Plus. In the ODF Plus – Aspiring category today are 54734 villages in which all households and institutions besides having access to sanitation through individual household latrines, have arrangements for either SWM or LWM; those in ODF Plus – Rising are 17121 villages which have arrangements for both LWM and SWM in addition to the criteria in Aspiring. Those that are declared ODF Plus – Model are 29607 villages which have all the above and where IEC messages are prominently disseminated and displayed.
This also translates into 99640 villages across the country having arrangements for solid waste management; 78937 having liquid waste management facilities; and almost 57312 villages having both functional solid and liquid waste management plants. The top five performing states are Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh where maximum number of villages have been declared as ODF Plus.
Given that the process of solid and liquid waste management is technical and relatively new to rural India, all possible assistance is being given to States in the form of funding, technical and capacity building support. As in Phase I of SBM (G), community participation is integral to the success of the campaign as it paves the way for self-development and contribution and that remains the hallmark of the campaign.
The campaign reinforces the Government’s commitment to promote hygiene and safe sanitation and thereby improve the quality of life of its citizens and fulfil our dream of a Sampoorn, Swachh and Swasth Bharat by 2024-25.