India is known for its rich cultural values, tradition and unity in diversity, yet it is globally famous for the unhygienic environment, or we can say it has become is India’s second identity. In order to overcome this image, the ruling government came up with a mission to clean India and launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan on Gandhi Jayanti in 2014. This mission is, in fact, the former Congress-led United Progress Alliance government’s initiative “Nirmal Bharat Abhiyaan.” This scheme was restructured into Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, according to a government statement in September 2014. The scheme’s primary objective is to create an open defecation-free India by the constructing as much as 12 crore toilets across the nation.
It has been five years since the Swachh Bharat Mission was launched and now the regime of Modi government is coming to an end. What better time to estimate the current status and accomplishments of the most hyped schemes. In a nutshell, let’s analyse how Swachh India became in the 5 Years of Modi Government
India has the highest open defecation rates in the world, which is mainly because of the age-old beliefs and lifestyle of the people living in rural areas. This has led to many severe healthcare issues, which includes child malnutrition and deaths. The government declared that 28 states and Union Territories are open defecations free. Whereas, the independent survey is telling a different story. The primary issue is government survey is based on toilet ownership, and not on how many people are actually using the toilets. Having toilets does not mean open defecation has wiped out. Moreover, under Swachh Bharat Mission, in many rural areas coercion has been used to force people to build toilets.
According to the survey by Research Institute for Compassionate Economics in 2018,
“9,812 people in rural north India and There open defecation rates in Rajasthan is 53% and in Madhya Pradesh 25%. In contrary, both of these states have been officially confirmed open defecation free under the Mission.”
Looking at the garbage, about 75% of 1.7 lakh tonnes of trash is dumped in the landfill and left untreated. In addition, through the door to door garbage collection scheme, only 44,650 out of 81,000 municipal wards are covered. The segregation of waste at generation is barely being done. On top of all the maintenance of the constructed toilets is highly disappointing, not only in the rural but in the urban areas as well.
However, the Swachh Bharat Mission has brought several positive changes too. To start with, Open Defecation has dropped by 26% in past four years since the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission, mainly due to the availability and awareness of household toilets which increased from 37% to 71%. But even after the much pomp and show, the scheme clearly failed to achieve the anticipated goal on the ground level.