The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is a one-of-its-kind programme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti on 2 October 2014. Announcing that the campaign would run for five years, he said, “A clean India would be the best tribute India could pay to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150 birth anniversary in 2019”. Key ministries and departments of the central government are involved in the campaign in coordination with the state governments. Several companies in the private sector and corporate have also pledged their support.
Here are some key facts you must know about this campaign
- The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan aims to eliminate open defecation, eradicate manual scavenging, introduce modern solid waste management and promote a positive attitude towards healthy sanitation practices.
- The government has set a target of building nearly 11.1 crore individual, cluster and community toilets by 2019.
- In urban areas, the campaign is being implemented by the Ministry of Urban Development and covers 4,041 towns. According to Census 2011, nearly eight million households in these towns do not have access to toilets and defecate in the open.
- The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation is in charge of the campaign in rural areas.
- The Swachh Survekshan (Cleanliness Survey), 2017 ranked Indore (Madhya Pradesh) as the cleanest city, followed by Bhopal (also in Madhya Pradesh), Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh), Surat (Gujarat) and Mysuru (Karnataka).
- The last five in this list were Gonda (Uttar Pradesh), Bhusawal (Maharashtra), Bagaha (Bihar), Hardoi (Uttar Pradesh) and Katihar (Bihar). In 2016, Mysuru was the cleanest while Dhanbad (Jharkhand) was adjudged the dirtiest in a survey of 73 cities.
- The parameters considered for Swachh Bharat Sarvekshan included access to toilets, solid waste management and awareness about sanitation issues.
- Sikkim was ranked as the cleanest state followed by Kerala at a close second in a 2016 survey by the National Sample Surveys Office (NSSO). The other top performing states included Mizoram and Himachal Pradesh.
- Jharkhand was placed last and was joined by Chattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh in the bottom 5. The ranking was based on the percentage of households having sanitary toilets and using them (either household or community toilets).
- Sindhudurg in Maharashtra topped a cleanliness survey for 53 districts in the plains, followed by Nadia (West Bengal) and Satara (Maharashtra). Mandi in Himachal Pradesh headed the list for 22 hill districts followed by West Sikkim (Sikkim) and Shimla (Himachal Pradesh).