Swachh Bharat Mission

[oped of the day] In last five years, Swachh Bharat mission has captured people’s imagination


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : SBM success - causes

Op-ed of the day is the most important editorial of the day. This will cover a key issue that came in the news and for which students must pay attention. This will also take care of certain key issues students have to cover in respective GS papers.


In the last five years, India has transformed from being the highest contributor to global open defecation to torch-bearer for global sanitation.

Key pillars behind the success of SBM

    • These may be applied to any large-scale transformation in the world.
    • Political leadership – Inspired by the top leadership and commitment, various chief ministers took up the cause. Leaders at all levels are prime catalysts for large-scale transformations.
    • Public financing – Over Rs 1 lakh crore was committed to ensuring universal access to sanitation, thereby backing the political will with budgetary support. About 90% of the 10 crore households which received toilets were from socially and economically weaker sections of society and they received financial incentives to build and use toilets.
    • Partnerships – SBM (G) partnered with implementers and influencers — national and international development agencies, media houses, civil society, celebrities, as well as all departments/ministries of the government of India.
    • People’ participation – SBM-G trained over half a million swachhagrahis, who triggered behaviour change in every village in India. 
    • Administrative disruption – it led to efficient on-ground implementation. A sunset clause brought a sense of urgency and accountability. 
    • SBM-G brought in a unique blend of young professionals and experienced but driven bureaucrats, and each person became committed to the goal.
    • Scalability – devised solutions which are easy to implement, like the on-site twin-pit toilet systems for rural India, as opposed to expensive networked sanitation solutions. 
    • By providing flexibility to states and implementers by design, the mission allowed them to tailor solutions to local contexts.
    • Targeted the low-hanging fruit first — the districts with the highest sanitation coverage — to become ODF on priority. This created a demonstration effect for others to learn from.
    • Behavior change – SBM-G engaged extensively with the media, leveraging popular culture, and associating Bollywood stars, sportspersons and other influencers to promote the message of sanitation.

Way ahead

  • 10-year sanitation strategy to move from ODF to ODF Plus
    • sustaining the SBM-G gains
    • ensuring that no one is left behind
    • ensuring access to solid and liquid waste management for all villages
  • Ensure piped water supply to all households by 2024. This will boost SBM-G’s sustainability efforts.
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