Monday, June 22, 2015

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan: Analysis

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan or the Clean India Mission as the name suggests aims to ensure holistic cleanliness in the country by the year 2019. However, the thrust of the mission is on ensuring access to toilets and proper sanitation to all the people. While launched with great fanfare, the mission has been facing challenges of implementation -
1. The focus of the sanitation component is completely infrastructure based i.e., on building toilets. It does not involve the community or plan in a holistic manner for ensuring 'ease of usage' to ensure continued use.
2. While promoting the mission, maximum publicity has been on cleanliness. Hence, an opportunity to publicise the more important sanitation component was lost.
3. While the vision is to have holistic cleanliness, the different components of the mission are being executed by different departments and ministries across the three levels of government. This coupled with the large scale corporate participation makes co-ordination a major challenge.
In order to tackle the problems faced, following steps can be taken -
1. While the expertise of the government lies in ensuring scale (or quantity), the NGOs and private sector partners can ensure quality. Hence, the programme must leverage the strengths of both sectors.
2. A decentralised approach must be followed based on the subsidiarity principle to ensure sustainable change.
3. Focus must be on changing behaviour and mindsets instead of creating infrastructure.
There have been many schemes, programmes and mission focusing on cleanliness and sanitation. To ensure that this mission be the last of any such scheme, the government must ensure that the focus remains on changing mindsets rather than creating infrastructure. Only then will be be able to achieve a 'Swach Bharat.'

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