Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies & interventions for development in various sectors & issues arising out of their design & implementation
From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:
Prelims level: Swachh Bharat Mission
Mains level: Behaviour Change is the prime mover of SBM. Sanitation Infrastructure alone will not work unless behaviour change is imbibed in the implementation of SBM.
Imbibing Behaviour Change
- Under new norms, cities and towns wanting to be declared ODF+ (Open Defecation Free Plus) must also be free of public urination and not just open defecation.
- This is the first time that the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) is officially including the elimination of public urination in its agenda.
- The rural division of SBM had previously said preventing public urination was not on their agenda.
- The Mission is focussed on infrastructure and regulatory changes, on the assumption that this will lead to behaviour change.
Open Defecation Free Protocol
- The ODF+ and ODF++ protocols, which were released by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs are the next step for the SBM-U and aim to ensure sustainability in sanitation outcomes.
- The original ODF protocol is notified as ODF city/ward if, at any point of the day, not a single person is found defecating in the open.
- The new ODF+ protocol says that a city, ward or work circle could be declared ODF+ if at any point of the day, not a single person is found defecating and/or urinating in the open, and all community and public toilets are functional and well-maintained.
- The ODF++ protocol adds the condition that “faecal sludge/septage and sewage is safely managed and treated, with no discharging and/or dumping of untreated faecal sludge/septage and sewage in drains, water bodies or open areas.
Open Urination- A major problem
- Urination has always been implied as part of the ODF agenda, that’s why there is a subsidy for urinals, not just toilets.
- The third-party verification of ODF areas, being carried out by the Quality Council of India, has not so far checked for public urination.
- It is currently impractical to include urination.
- Public urination, especially by men, is almost entirely a behaviour change issue. Even men who have access to toilets use the roads as a public urinal.
- They are forced to do it because of the lack of cleanliness, accessibility and visibility.
- The ODF+ protocol lays down 20 specific conditions across cleanliness, support infrastructure, accessibility and operations and maintenance.
“Toilet Near Me”
- The Mission is also pushing forward in its drive to get public toilets listed on Google Maps.
- A search for toilets nearby will now display the location of public toilets in over 700 cities, and allow users to rate and review them.
- If people can easily find a public toilet, they will not use the road.
Way Forward: Monitoring Behaviour Change
- The SBM-U does have a 10% budget for IEC activities (Information, Education and Communication) using both digital media and on-field activities such as street dramas.
- The SBM is not depending on awareness activities for behaviour change.
- In urban areas, behaviour change is automatically guaranteed if there is proper access.
- The Mission’s monitoring of behaviour change is currently limited to the Swachh Survekshan surveys which include physical observation and citizen feedback.
- A national sample-based survey is also being planned for urban areas.