Swachh Bharat Mission

[op-ed snap] Not so swachh: On sanitation goals


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing

Mains level : Swachh Bharat mission - task ahead


Swachh Bharat programme has won applause globally for its goal of providing sanitation to all.

Recent survey

    • Survey data from the NSO show that it remains a work in progress. 
    • Toilets in households in the countryside have increased. 
    • There is a deficit of about 28% as of October last year. 
    • The declaration that the country has ended open defecation in its rural areas is not entirely accurate, going by this survey. 
    • The many States that were declared to be free of open defecation did not qualify for the status.

What could be done

    • The data could help the centre to review performance in States such as Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan. Here, the lack of toilets is reported to be higher than the national average.
    • It provides an opportunity to review other social determinants such as education, housing and water supply which have a strong influence on the adoption of sanitation.
    • Sanitation cannot be a separate ideal if communities if it is not linked to overall deprivation.

State of ODF status

    • The Ministry of Jal Shakti said the coverage in 5,99,963 villages had risen from 38.7% in 2014 to 100% this year.
    • Taxpayers remitted about ₹20,600 crores as a cess since 2015, until the introduction of the GST. 
    • This has not translated into use everywhere. The NSO survey results controvert data relied upon by the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan on ODF.

Challenge ahead

    • It needs so much effort to bring all-round development to India’s villages, which have not really benefited from fast-paced economic growth. 
    • Rural housing and water supply are key to bringing toilet access to all.
    • 2.95 crore subsidised houses to be built by 2022 may not be able to bridge the shortfall. 
    • Development indices are low in some States.
    • Local bodies lack the capacity and resources to bring universal sanitation. 


Sustained work to eliminate lacunae in coverage and a massive urban programme is essential to end open defecation and universalise toilet access.


Swachh Bharat Cess

Government of India initiated the ‘Swachh Bharat Cess’ at 0.5% on all taxable services to fund Swachh Bharat initiatives.

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