Swachh Bharat Mission

Jul, 14, 2018

[pib] Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation Launches the Swachh Survekshan Grameen 2018


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Swachh Survekshan Grameen 2018

Mains level: Progress monitoring of Swachh Bharat Mission


Swachh Survekshan Grameen 2018

  1. An independent survey agency will conduct the survey in all districts and the results will be announced in the form of a ranking of all districts and states on the basis of quantitative and qualitative sanitation (Swachhata) parameters.
  2. The top-performing states and districts are expected to be awarded on 2nd October 2018.

Particulars of the Survey

  1. As part of Swachh Survekshan Grameen 6,980 villages in 698 districts across India will be covered.
  2. Total 34,000 public places namely schools, anganwadis, public health centres, haat/bazaars/religious places in these villages will be visited for the survey.
  3. Citizens’ feedback will be collected from over 50 lakh citizens on SBM related issues through direct interaction as well as online feedback.
  4. During the process, 65% weightage has been assigned to the findings and outcome from the survey and 35% to the service level parameters to be obtained from the IMIS of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
  5. The weights to different elements of the SSG would be as below:
  • Direct Observation of sanitation in public places: 30%
  • Citizen’s Feedback on sanitation parameters: 35%
  • Service Level Progress on sanitation progress in the country as per SBMG- MIS: 35%

The progress of Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen)

  1. Over 7.7 crore toilets have been built in rural India under the Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) since its launch in October 2014, with a usage of 93% as per an independent third-party survey conducted in 2017-18 across all States/UTs.
  2. Nearly 4 lakh villages, over 400 districts and 19 States and Union Territories have declared themselves free from open defecation.
Jun, 14, 2018

Sulabh founder bags Nikkei Asia Prize


Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Social empowerment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Nikkei Asia Prize for Culture and Community,

Mains level: Contribution of various individuals and NGOs in ensuring better sanitation facilities in urban as well as rural areas


Award for tackling poor hygiene and discrimination

  1. Noted social reformer and founder of Sulabh International Bindeshwar Pathak was honored with Japan’s prestigious ‘Nikkei Asia Prize for Culture and Community’
  2. The award was given to him for his significant work in tackling poor hygiene and discrimination
  3. Mr. Pathak’s two-pit pour-flush ecological compost toilets have provided cheap and environment-friendly toilets to millions


Nikkei Asia Prize for Culture and Community

  1. The Nikkei Asia Prize is an award which recognizes the achievements of people and organizations that have improved the lives of people throughout Asia
  2. The awards were created and presented by Nikkei Inc, one of the largest media corporations in Japan
  3. Launched in 1996, the program honors people in Asia who have made significant contributions in one of the three areas: regional growth; science, technology and innovation; and culture
  4. Former PM Manmohan Singh and Infosys Chairman Narayan Murti are among the few Indians who have won the prize in the past
Jun, 13, 2018

[pib] Ten new Swachh Iconic Places launched under Swachh Bharat Mission


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Try to recall iconic sites and their location in respective states

Mains level: Initiatives under SIP to improve urban infrastructure


Launching of Phase III of Swachh Iconic Places

  1. The third phase of SIP was today launched at Mana village which is situated close to the Badrinath temple in Uttarakhand.
  2. The village, which now becomes a Swachh Iconic Place, is visited by tourists and pilgrims as it houses places of mythological interest.

Ten new iconic sites have been taken up under Phase III

  • RaghavendraSwamy Temple (Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh);
  • Hazardwari Palace (Murshidabad, West Bengal);
  • Brahma Sarovar Temple (Kurukshetra, Haryana);
  • VidurKuti (Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh);
  • Mana village (Chamoli, Uttarakhand);
  • Pangong Lake (Leh-Ladakh, J&K);
  • Nagvasuki Temple (Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh);
  • ImaKeithal/market (Imphal, Manipur);
  • Sabarimala Temple (Kerala); and
  • Kanvashram (Uttarakhand)

These new sites have joined the 20 iconic places under Phase I & II where special Sanitation work is already underway

Phase I and II iconic sites have seen notable initiatives taken up like:

  • improved sewage infrastructure, installation of Sewage Treatment Plant (STP),
  • drainage facilities,
  • improved sanitation facilities,
  • water vending machines (Water ATMs),
  • Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM) set-up,
  • structure restoration, roads maintenance, lighting arrangements, beautification of parks, better transport facilities in approach etc.


Swachh Iconic Places (SIP)

  1. The project envisioned by the Prime Minister is being coordinated by Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation with the support of State governments and local administration
  2. SIP is a collaborative project with three other central Ministries: Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, M/o Culture, and M/o Tourism.
  3. It also involves local administrations in the concerned States and Public Sector and Private Companies as sponsoring partners.
  4. Launched in 2016, the Phase I iconic places are Ajmer Sharif Dargah, CST Mumbai, Golden Temple, Kamakhya Temple, Manikarnika Ghat, Meenakshi Temple, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi, Shree Jagannath Temple, The Taj Mahal and Tirupati Temple.
  5. Phase II of Swachh Iconic Places was launched in Nov 2017 and included Gangotri, Yamunotri, Mahakaleshwar Temple, Charminar, Convent and Church of St. Francis of Assisi, Kalady, Gommateswara, BaidyanathDham, Gaya Tirth and Somnath temple.
Jun, 06, 2018

[pib] Ministry of Railways PSU IRCTC introduces bagasse based food packaging to commemorate World Environment Day 2018


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  World Environment Day 2018, Bagasse Packaging

Mains level:  Initiatives to promote the use of non- biodegradable materials for packaging


  • IRCTC with this new initiative reaffirms its commitment to a cleaner and greener India and has taken a small step in this direction to achieve the same.
  • Provision will be made to collect the used packaging which will then be processed for disposal through composting to ensure environmental sustainability.

What is Bagasse?

  • Bagasse is the fibrous remains left behind after extracting sugarcane juice
  • It is being used to make disposable cutlery and containers in which meals will be served

Aims of the Initiative

  • The aim is to progressively introduce bagasse based packaging as a viable alternative of non-bio-degradable material being currently used on all Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duranto trains managed by IRCTC
May, 18, 2018

New clean mission targets 48 riverfronts, beaches


Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Read the attached story

Mains level: Problem of Plastic pollution and Govt. initiatives to clean riverfronts and beaches


Environment Ministry to clean Riverfronts and beaches

  1. As many as 48 stretches of riverfronts and beaches in the country will be cleaned up ahead of World Environment Day on 5 June, the government said.
  2. The environment ministry said in a statement that it would undertake cleaning riverfronts and beaches of plastic litter, in as many as 19 states, including nine coastal states.
  3. A recent water quality assessment indicated that there are 302 polluted stretches on 275 rivers across the country.
  4. The most polluted riverfronts include Ghaggar in Haryana, Satlej in Punjab, Hooghly in West Bengal, Cauvery in Karnataka, the Narmada in Madhya Pradesh and Ganga in Kanpur and Varanasi.
  5. Some of the beaches identified include Kannur and Calicut beaches in Kerala, Puri in Odisha, Calangute, Miramar and Colva in Goa.

Nodal Agencies

  1. The Central authorities identified the water bodies after consulting the state pollution control boards and the college of fisheries.
  2. A total of 19 teams headed by senior officers of the ministry of the environment have been formed for each of the states, which would include members of state nodal agencies, and members of the State Pollution Control Boards.
  3. Colleges, non-government organizations, National Cadet Corps, Border Security Force, Central Industrial Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the Coast Guard would also be tapped for the exercise.

This is in line with this year’s theme of World Environment Day—

Beating plastic pollution, identified as a global emergency by the United Nations in 2017

Apr, 30, 2018

[pib] Swachh Bharat Mission launches GOBAR-DHAN


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: GOBAR DHAN scheme, Swachh Bharat Mission

Mains level: Swacch Bharat mission and its impact on livelihoods


  • Union Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, Sushri Uma Bharti launched the GOBAR (Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources – DHAN scheme at the National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) Auditorium, Karnal.
  • The scheme aims to positively impact village cleanliness and generate wealth and energy from cattle and organic waste.
  • The scheme also aims at creating new rural livelihood opportunities and enhancing income for farmers and other rural people.
  • The Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) comprises two main components for creating clean villages – creating open defecation free (ODF) villages and managing solid and liquid waste in villages.
  • With over 3.5 lakh villages, 374 districts and 16 States/UTsof the country being declared ODF, the stage is set for ODF-plus activities, including measures to enhance solid and liquid waste management.
  • The GOBAR-DHAN scheme, with its focus on keeping villages clean, increasing the income of rural households, and generation of energy from cattle waste, is an important element of this ODF-plus strategy.
  • The scheme envisages the implementation of 700 biogas units in different states of the country in 2018-19.
  • Under GOBAR-Dhan, cooking gas would be provided to rural habitations and technical support would ensure that the schemes functioned on a sustainable basis.
Apr, 18, 2018

[pib] 7-star rating under Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban)


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Star rating of garbage- free cities, Swachh Bharat Mission

Mains level: Impact of SBM in improving sanitation


  • The 1st regional workshop on the star rating of garbage- free cities, organized by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) in collaboration with the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) was held in Delhi.
  • The day -long workshop was attended by over 250 Urban Local Body (ULB) officials, including Mayors and Commissioners, from New Delhi, Jammu & Kashmir, Haryana and neighbouring ULBs of Uttar Pradesh.
  • The Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) focuses on two key objectives- eradication of open defecation and 100% scientific solid waste management (SWM) across all 4041 statutory towns and cities. 
  • To continue the momentum on scientific management of solid waste and motivate cities to achieve more cleanliness, the Star-Rating Protocol of Garbage Free Cities was launched by MoHUA on January 2018.
  • The 7-star rating is innovatively designed on a SMART (Single metric, Measurable, Achievable, Rigorous verification and Targeted towards outcomes) approach – making it the first-of-its-kind rating tool for assessing the cleanliness of cities and towns in India. 
  • The system, based on 12 parameters, builds on the spirit of healthy competition among cities and the aspirations of cities to progress towards higher standards of “Swachhata” and its sustainability. 

Key Features of 7-star rating-Designed on a SMART approach:

  • SINGLE METRIC – Rating criteria encapsulates all components of MSWM as well as plastic waste, waste in drains and water bodies
  • MEASURABLE – Criteria under each star rating has measurable parameters (e.g.% of HHs covered by D2D collection, % of waste processed, etc.)
  • ACHIEVABLE – Each criteria and associated parameter has been devised to ensure that it is realistically achievable by cities.
  • RIGOROUS VERIFICATION – Robust 2-step verification mechanism of both self-declaration and third party verification. Cities rated 1, 2 and 4-star must carry out self-assessment and self-verification, while 3-star, 5-star and 7-star cities will need to be certified through an independent third party. Moreover, a city should be ODF before going for 3-star and above certification.
  • TARGETED TOWARDS OUTCOMES – Based on verifiable outcomes rather than inputs and processes (e.g. remediation of dumpsites, regular sweeping, collection of user charges, etc.)

Strengths of star rating protocol

  • Outcome-based tool rather than process based, hence will enable institutionalization of good practices such as source segregation, scientific waste processing, penalties & spot fines for littering, and compliance of bulk waste generators, etc.
  • Designed to enable cities to gradually evolve into a model (7-star) city, with progressive improvements in their overall cleanliness.
  • At the 7-star level, 3R components of 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) incorporated.
Feb, 24, 2018

[op-ed snap] Wealth from waste


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: GOBAR-Dhan initiative

Mains level: Success of Swacch Bharat mission


GOBAR-Dhan initiative

  1. During his budget speech, the finance minister announced the launch of “GOBAR-Dhan(Galvanising Organic Bio-Agro Resources-Dhan)
  2. The initiative has two objectives:
  • To make villages clean and generate wealth and
  • energy from cattle and other waste

3. The Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin will pilot this initiative

4. The GOBAR-Dhan initiative is expected to pilot opportunities to convert cattle dung and other organic waste to compost, biogas and even larger scale bio-CNG units

5. The programme, expected to be launched in April, aims at the collection and aggregation of cattle dung and solid waste across clusters of villages for sale to entrepreneurs to produce organic manure, biogas/bio-CNG

Tapping the full economic potential of cattle waste

  1. The 19th Livestock Census (2012) estimates India’s cattle population at 300 million, putting the production of dung at about 3 million tonnes per day
  2. Some European countries and China use animal dung and other organic waste to generate energy
  3. India is yet to tap the full economic potential of such waste

Solid and liquid waste management in rural India

  1. With the largest cattle population in the world, rural India has the potential to leverage huge quantities of gobar into wealth and energy
  2. Cattle dung, kitchen waste, and agricultural waste can be tapped to create biogas-based energy

Benefits of such initiative

  1. According to a 2014 ILO study, the productive use of dung could support 1.5 million jobs nationally
  2. For the farmer, there is a significant potential of greater income from the sale of cow dung


  1. One of the challenges for operating biogas plants, and even related higher value chain operations like bio-CNG plants, is the aggregation of cattle waste and maintaining a regular supply to plant operators
  2. Panchayats and village communities will have to play key roles to leverage the animal and organic waste that goes into water bodies, dumping sites, and landfills

Way forward

  1. Generating wealth from waste in rural areas will require the involvement of all actors and sectors
  2. Investments from the private sector and local entrepreneurs will be needed
  3. With appropriate policies and practices, the sector can be scaled up into opportunities for growth, leading to increased incomes, long-term livelihoods and, of course, more Swachh villages
Feb, 06, 2018

[op-ed snap] India needs sewage systems, not free toilets


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 Abhiyan, GDP

Mains level: Problem of open defecation in India and how to resolve it


Policy announcement about the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

  1. In the 2018 budget speech, the finance minister declared the existing programme a success
  2. 60 million toilets were already constructed under it and government has the intention to construct an additional 20 million toilets

Problem of open defecation in India not resolved

  1. Access to free toilets has not helped resolve open defecation in India
  2. SBA is unlikely to succeed in its primary task of eliminating open defecation by October 2019
  3. India has far higher levels of open defecation than other countries of the same GDP (gross domestic product) per capita
  4. Typically, as nations get wealthier, open defecation decreases
  5. Despite increases in GDP per capita, and increase in latrine availability through the SBA, India has witnessed little decrease in open defecation

Why open defecation still prevalent?

  1. The latrines provided by governments are often used for storage, washing clothes, and as play areas—everything except the intended use
  2. The key reason for this is that basic latrines that need to be emptied out manually or pumped by simple machines are unacceptable to higher caste Hindus
  3. It is considered polluting to the individual and the home, and historically associated with untouchability
  4. The perceptions of ritual purity are particularly prevalent and persistent in rural India
  5. Indians don’t want free toilets, they want sewage systems

Solution to this problem

  1. It is not just a matter of access but a problem of perceptions of pollution, ritual purity, and caste
  2. Deeply entrenched cultural contexts must be taken into account for successful policy outcomes
  3. India needs to change perceptions of ritual purity through education and awareness in rural areas
  4. If it is not possible to change perceptions quickly, India needs to think of policy solutions that can work around the perverse caste perceptions

Another way round

  1. Change the SBA from a scheme providing free toilets, to one encouraging and enabling local governments to construct sewage systems
  2. If there is a functional sewage system, it is relatively low cost for households to build a toilet in every home that is connected to the sewage system

Way forward

  1. The SBA has minimal chance of success in the near future
  2. The government needs to rethink the solution to the problem of open defecation and focus on providing public goods like sewage systems instead of free toilets
Jan, 24, 2018

[op-ed snap] Stumbling towards sustainable sanitation


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 Abhiyan, Open Defecation-Free status,  Self Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers, Swachh Survekshan

Mains level: Steps being taken for Clean India


ODF status of cities and villages

  1. 30% of India’s 4,386 cities and a quarter of the 685 districts have been verified as being free of open defecation under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission)
  2. Over 4 million toilets have been built across cities, and close to 60 million toilets across the rural landscape since the mission’s launch on 2 October 2014

Target of mission

  1. Two years are left for the mission to achieve its target of an Open Defecation-Free (ODF) India
  2. The high-pressure, target-driven approach towards toilet construction is likely to gain momentum
  3. At the current rate of roughly 2,450 toilets constructed every hour mission may even meet the target

Sustainable ODF challenge

  1. The challenge will be in ensuring that ODF villages and cities are truly ODF and that they remain so
  2. Habits are difficult to change, and social norms even more
  3. Work towards behavior change usually stops cold as soon as the ODF declaration is made

Other challenges

  1. Usage of toilets can also be obstructed by simple choices like the type of toilet being built
  2. The Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin advocates low-cost, twin leach pit model
  3. Many households tend to build larger, cemented pits which local masons market as septic tanks
  4. These tanks require much more water, and a means for safe containment and disposal of the waste
  5. Water is generally scarce and sewerage connections are simply not viable in most villages

Manual scavenging will not end?

  1. The results of this proliferation of septic tanks could be disastrous not only for sustainable sanitation but also to government’s aim of ending manual scavenging
  2. Many manual scavenger deaths were reported in septic tank accidents
  3. Between 2013 and 2017, the government’s Self Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers was able to identify less than 14,000 manual scavenging households across the country
  4. But the Socio-Economic and Caste Census of 2011 listed over 10 times the number of manual scavengers

Lacunae in mission management

  1. There is no data on what kind of toilets have been created, or even whether they are being used consistently
  2. The Swachh Survekshan urban reports are limited to city rankings and the latest rural report for 2017 is still not available in the public domain
  3. Slow pace of verification and the lack of government monitoring post-declaration also challenge sustainability
  4. There is also absence of any form of social audits or community involvement in what is essentially meant to be a community-led movement

Way forward

  1. Mission needs to refocus itself in order to remove all these lacunae
  2. Results from this mission will affect future policies framed in this direction
Nov, 20, 2017

[op-ed snap] More than just a counting game


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: on-site sanitation system

Mains level: On-site systems as an alternative to sewerage systems



  1. The article talks about safe disposal of human waste with on-site sanitation systems

World Toilet Day

  1. November 19, 2017, was World Toilet Day, with the theme ‘Wastewater and Faecal Sludge Management’

Contribution of the Swachh Bharat Mission

  1. There is greater awareness about the importance of using toilets, largely due to the Swachh Bharat Mission launched in 2014
  2. Even Bollywood capitalised on this topic in the recent film Toilet — Ek Prem Katha

Targets under the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals

  1. These targets are not just about ‘toilets’ but also suggest improvements to the entire cycle of sanitation, which certainly begins with toilets but has to end with safe waste disposal

Why is safe disposal of waste important?

  1. Sanitation is intrinsically linked to health, and unless faecal waste is treated properly and disposed of safely
  2. It will make us sick either by contaminating our sources of drinking water or getting into the food chain

Full cycle of sanitation
Four Stages

  1. (1) Access to toilets, (2) safe containment, (3) conveyance either through the sewerage network or de-sludging trucks, (4) And treatment and disposal
  2. The waste needs to be handled safely at each of these stages in order to gain public health benefits

Issues faced by the Urban India

  1. Urban India faces considerable gaps along the full cycle of sanitation
  2. One probable reason was the belief that sewerage and sewage treatment systems could be built in all cities
  3. Sewerage systems and sewage treatment plants (STPs) (a preferred system in most western countries) are not only expensive but are also complicated to maintain

On-site systems: An alternative to sewerage systems

  1. An alternative to sewerage systems is something known as on-site systems
  2. Septic tanks and pit latrines, which are prevalent in many Indian households, fall into this category
  3. If these systems are designed, constructed and managed properly, they can be perfectly safe options
  4. Safe containment, collection and treatment is known as septage management or faecal sludge management (FSM), and is being increasingly recognised by the Government of India as a viable option

Several challenges for FSM 

  1. Emerging evidence from across the country indicates that on-site systems are not constructed properly
  2. While the designs of ‘septic’ tanks and leach pits have been set out in standards issued in government documents, houseowners and masons are often not aware of these
  3. The most severe consequence of these poorly designed pits is the potential contamination of groundwater
  4. In addition, they are not de-sludged at regular intervals
  5. Faecal waste needs to be transported using de-sludging vehicles (and not manually) but only some States, Tamil Nadu for example, have these vehicles
  6. While de-sludging vehicles and robust informal markets exist for de-sludging services in some States, others are either procuring vehicles for their urban local bodies or encouraging private players to get into this
  7. Once collected, the waste needs to treated properly to ensure that it does not land up in our lakes and rivers
  8. There aren’t enough treatment facilities to guarantee proper treatment of the sludge

Recent Developments

  1. After the National Urban Sanitation Policy (NUSP) in 2008, a national policy on Faecal Sludge and Septage Management (FSSM) was released earlier this year
  2. Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Odisha have released State-wide septage management guidelines and taken concrete steps to execute these policies

The way forward

  1. Raising awareness about correct design and construction practices of on-site systems (new and legacy) will perhaps remain the biggest hurdle in the years to come
  2. But, urban local bodies and State governments could start by ensuring that the larger containment systems such as community toilets and public toilets are properly constructed and managed
  3. The safety of sanitary workers who clean tanks and pits must be ensured by enforcing occupational safety precautions
  4. And the use of personal protective equipment as set out in the law
  5. Suggestions for Citizens: As home-owners and residents, our tanks and pits must be emptied regularly, thereby preventing leaks and overflow
  6. We must ask our governments to invest in creating treatment facilities that our cities can afford
Nov, 03, 2017

[op-ed snap] The Swachh marathon

Image Source


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

The following things are important from UPSC perspective:

Prelims Level: Not much

Mains level: The article deals with an important part of the SBM i.e. ODF villages.


Scale of the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin (SBM-G) 

  1. The momentum and scale of the SBM-G is unprecedented
  2. Since the launch of the programme, there has been an astonishing acceleration in the construction of toilets, with five crore built in three years
  3. The scale and complexity facing the SBM-G make it, more challenging than any other rural development programme in the world

Government meeting on issues related to the SBM

  1. Recently, a day-long meeting on in Delhi of representatives of government, international agencies, NGOs, consultants and researchers shared findings and lessons from methods for rapid learning relevant for the SBM-G
  2. This led to ideas about how to tackle concerns that had come to light
  3. Three burning issues stood out:
    (1) Technical realities and what people know;
    (2) their beliefs and behaviour;
    (3) unfinished business, especially concerning those who are poorer, marginalised and left behind

Why people prefer septic tanks?

  1. The preference for septic tanks remains deeply rooted and widespread
  2. People believe they are better than the recommended more sustainable and economic twin pits because they are big and will take longer to fill
  3. But due to widespread ignorance of technical details, many septic tanks are not built according to the guidelines
  4. And end up contaminating the environment and damaging public health

Why is Twin leach pits favourable?

  1. It have much in their favour
  2. For a few years, human waste flows to the first pit
  3. Once full, it is left to become manure while new waste is diverted into a second pit
  4. The first pit is emptied and the cycle starts again
  5. This technology allows time for the waste to compost and become harmless, odourless and valuable fertiliser
  6. Issues: rapid investigations found many people who had had twin pits constructed for them without any explanation of how they work
  7. They lacked a sense of ownership and believed the pits would fill up fast
  8. In consequence, they were using them only some of the time, continuing open defecation (OD) even in villages with 100 per cent toilet coverage
  9. This problem is acutely urgent
  10. A recent rapid survey covering over a thousand households found that the proportion of twin pits being built in SBM is declining

What is the possible solution?

  1. The solution is to empower people through knowledge
  2. Few rural people are aware of technical details or convinced by the advantages of twin pits
  3. Mason training can help, but the major thrust needed is a massive communication campaign to inform all villagers of the technical options and details

Declaration of a village as ODF

  1. SBM-G verifications and several studies indicate that in practice 70-90 per cent coverage is often taken as acceptable for a declaration of open defecation free (ODF)
  2. The remaining 10-30 per cent without toilets are predominantly the marginalised and disadvantaged — OBC, SC, ST, the very poor, sick, disabled, aged and weak, or living in difficult or remote areas
  3. For them, additional efforts and special policies and provisions are needed

The way forward

  1. Declaration and verification of ODF is a milestone
  2. Beyond ODF lie many challenges
  3. Rapid learning, sharing and adapting will be vital not just in the next two years but far beyond 2019
  4. The scale of the achievements and milestones passed over the past three years far surpass anything we believed conceivably possible
  5. Achieving a fully Swachh Bharat is not a sprint but a marathon, and that rapid learning, if acted on effectively, should speed progress and enhance sustainability
Oct, 03, 2017

[op- ed snap] Missing the point of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan


Mains Paper 1| Salient features of Indian Society

Prelims: SBA, Dry pit latrines

Mains level: This article is important from Mains perspective as it gives insights about why building toilets alone won’t help in achieving the targets of SBA. This topic is inter-spread between various GS papers of UPSC mains, that is, Government Schemes GS-2, Attitude under GS-4.



  1. In 2014, more than half of India’s population still practised open defecation.
  2. The government set the goal of making the country open defecation-free in five years, by the 150th anniversary of M.K. Gandhi’s birthday in 2019, by launching the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBA).
  3. The primary strategy of the SBA has been the construction of toilets. More than 97% of the SBA-Gramin’s budget has been spent on the construction of individual household toilets.
  4. The programme has increased the money to be spent per toilet from the previous Rs10,000 to Rs12,000, and it mandates that water storage tanks be built alongside government latrines. 
  5. Strategically there is hardly any difference from the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan, Total Sanitation Campaign and the Central Rural Sanitation Programme that were launched before SBA.
  6. Three years later, we are more than halfway into that period, and there is good reason to be skeptical about its method.

Problems in SBA

  1. The access to toilets is not the reason why India has alarming rates of open defecation, nor is lack of education or access to water.
  2. The question is why, in 2011, had 70% of rural Indians not built toilets when their contemporaries in other developing countries could afford to do so?
  3. An evidence shows that not only do Indians not build toilets, they also avoid using those that have been constructed already.
  4. The number of people defecating in open cannot be calculated because India doesn’t collect individual data on latrine usage; there is only household data that notes the presence or absence of latrines.
  5. People are refraining from using toilets because of kind of latrines being built in the villages and traditional norms that define purity and pollution.
  6. Pit Latrines: Villages don’t have sewage systems because of which pit-latrines are constructed. These latrines collect the faeces in the pit; the moisture percolates in the ground and the faeces dry.This is a tremendous improvement in terms of public health over dry-latrines, which require manual scavengers to pick up the faeces, or for faeces to be washed away and potentially pollute water sources.
  7. According to religious beliefs, physical cleanliness is not always the same as ritual purity. For example, cow dung and vegetable peels strewn on the floor are physically dirty, but ritually pure.
  8. Rural Indians commonly complain that it is dirty to have a pit latrine in the house; what they are emphasizing is not physical cleanliness, but ritual purity.
  9. For a caste-conscious society, social mobility depends on emulating the practices of the so-called higher castes. 
  10. Manually cleaning pit-latrines, usually equated with the most degrading forms of Dalit labour, does not augur well with that aspiration.


  1. India cannot become free of open defecation by only building more toilets.
  2. The solution requires a concerted effort to change people’s views about open defecation.
  3. The SBA-Gramin allocates only 8% of the budget to information, education and communication activities, this needs to increased for creating more awareness about the importance of physical cleanliness.
  4. Latrine ownership should be promoted as a matter of prestige and affiliation with the modern world.
  5. There should be more effort to inform people about the mortality burden of open defecation.
  6. The government has made efforts to instill a new sense of civic pride in throwing garbage in trash cans.
  7. This is a laudable strategy, but it should be accompanied with an effort to change the attitudes towards caste hierarchies.




Aug, 22, 2017

[op-ed snap] More Than Toilets

Image Source


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

From the UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Swachhagrahi

Mains level: Good overview of the progress made so far, under the SBM.



  1. The article talks about the progress of the Swachh Bharat Mission(SBM)
  2. SWB was Launched in October 2014 and scheduled to culminate by October 2, 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhiji, the SBM is close to completing three years.

Progress under the SBM

  1. The Rural sanitation coverage has increased from 39 per cent to 67 per cent in three years and over 230 million people in rural India have stopped defecating in the open
  2. Five states, 186 districts and over 2,31,000 villages have been declared as ODF(open defection free)
  3. The most significant policy shift in under SBM has been the move from outputs (number of toilets built) to outcomes (ODF villages)
  4. Means, now we calculate our progress in number of ODF villages instead of number of toilet builds


  1. Swachhagrahi are trained grass roots level motivators who work under an incentive-based system
  2. They “trigger” behaviour change by stimulating community-level demand for toilets
  3. The SBM ambitiously aims at having at least one trained grassroots-level swachhagrahi in each village in India
  4. Currently, more than 1.5 lakh swachhagrahi are working in villages

Strict guidelines for Verification

  1. Currently, verification of ODF villages stands at around 56 per cent
  2. To accelerate the verification process, the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has recently issued policy guidelines
  3. According to these guidelines, state governments will be eligible for release of the second instalment of central funds only if they have fully verified all their ODF villages

The Way Forward

  1. The emphasis on sustainability differentiates SBM from previous sanitation programmes
  2. The progress made so far and the acceleration expected over the coming 12-15 months with the active engagement of millions of people, the goal is definitely achievable
Aug, 11, 2017

[op-ed snap] Towards a clean-up: on meeting sanitation goals

Image Source


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Q.) “Clearer policies and investment in the right systems are needed to meet sanitation goals in India.” Discuss.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Swachh Bharat Mission

Mains level: The government always gives special attention to Swachh Bharat Mission. This attention makes it more important for UPSC. Also, the mission deals with an important issue related to both rural and urban population of India.



  1. In the article, writer talks about the implementation level, targets achieved, issues related to the Swachh Bharat Mission

Level of implementation of the Swachh Bharat Mission

  1. It has subsidy-based mass toilet-building programme
  2. A government-commissioned survey estimates that the coverage now extends to 62.45% of households, up from 39% in 2014
  3. With the substantial funding available from the Centre, State governments cannot have a convincing reason for a poor record

Issues with the implementation

  1. Among the benefited households, nearly 92% of people who have access actually use the toilet
  2. There is data from undivided Andhra Pradesh which shows that household latrines built before the Swachh programme couldn’t be used
  3. Why: because many rural households did not have a water source
  4. The newer ones may meet the same fate without access to water
  5. Also, Dalit houses tend to have lower coverage which hints at structural difficulties in accessing the scheme

Positive outcomes of the Mission

  1. The most important outcome is reduced stress for women, who suffer silently in the absence of toilets
  2. There are well-known gains to public health as well

Performance by different states

  1. According to Centre’s assessment, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana have particularly failed to upgrade rural sanitation
  2. While Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Gujarat have exceeded the goals
  3. Effort by the government: Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has introduced a new district-level ranking
  4. It may help the more backward States to bring about infrastructure

The way forward

  1. Many Indians do not see the waste they generate as their problem, and consider it to be someone else’s responsibility
  2. This attitude of Indians should be changed
Aug, 09, 2017

Kerala, Haryana top sanitation survey


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Survey

Mains level: The survey shows the performance of Swachh Bharat Mission in different states


Data from Government survey commissioned on Sanitation

  1. According to the survey, almost all rural households in Kerala and Haryana had access to a toilet
  2. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh has least access to toilets when compared to other states
  3. The survey is released by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation
  4. The survey was carried out by the Quality Council of India (QCI)

Other best performers

  1. Northeastern States of Sikkim, Manipur and Nagaland were top performers with 95% rural households covered by toilets
  2. The Himalayan States of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand with over 90% toilet coverage of the rural houses

Worst performers

  1. In Bihar, only 30% of the rural households had access to toilets while Uttar Pradesh was marginally better at 37%
  2. Jharkhand, too scored the same as Uttar Pradesh
Jul, 31, 2017

[op-ed snap] At The Half-way Mark


Mains Paper 2: Governance | Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Q.) Examine the effects of  Swachh Bharat Mission on the lives of rural Indian Women.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims Level: Implementing authorities of the SBM

Mains Level: Important information regarding the achievements of the SBM is given in the article.



  1. The article is related to the targets of ODF achieved under the Swachh Bharat Mission.

Achievements of the Swachh Bharat Mission

  1. Due to the focus on need-based capacity building and constant measuring of outcomes SBM has witnessed notable achievements in reducing open defecation viz.
    (1) In last three years there is an increase from 42 per cent to 65.02 per cent in national sanitation coverage
    (2) Five states, 149 districts and 2.08 lakh villages have already been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF)
    (3) Nearly 22 per cent of the cities and towns have been declared ODF
    (4) 50 per cent of the urban wards have achieved 100 per cent door-to-door solid waste collection
    (5) The number of schools with separate toilet facilities for girls has increased from 0.4 million (37 per cent) to almost one million (91 per cent)

ODF as the success parameter of the SBM

  1. It was made clear by the government that progress will be tracked and evaluated only on the basis of ODF
  2. Effect of the decision: This policy shift led to ODF Monitoring Committees (or Nigrani Samitis) being formed at the village level
  3. The monitoring committees’ key tasks were not to count the number of toilets but to ensure that no individual from the village resorts to open defecation
  4. Information and feedback from NGOs and others shows good progress on this front

The way forward

  1. Achieving ODF status alone is not sufficient for the success of SBM
  2. Attention to the complete sanitation cycle is required, where waste generated also needs to be collected and treated properly
  3. Achieving ODF is the collective responsibility of the entire nation, not just the government
Nov, 25, 2016

‘43 per cent of rural population defecate in the open’

  1. Source: Minister of State for Drinking Water and Sanitation Ramesh Jigajinagi in a written reply to Lok Sabha
  2. As per a report published in 2015, 59.43% of the world population defecating in the open live in India
  3. Nearly 43% of India’s rural population defecate in the open
  4. Poverty and lack of infrastructure are some of the major reasons behind poor sanitation
  5. However, sanitation is primarily a behavioural issue
  6. It involves change of mindset amongst people to stop open defecation and to adopt safe sanitation practices
  7. The Centre had launched the Swachh Bharat Mission on Oct 2, 2014, which aims at an attaining clean India by Oct 2019
Oct, 01, 2016

[op-ed snap] Taking the road less dusty

  1. Theme: Analysing the issues with implementation of Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM).
  2. Issues: The methodology adopted to collect data for the Swachh Survekshan Report is not credible- it does not accurately capture behavioural tendencies of individuals.
  3. The result is lack of credible data on how many people defecate in the open.
  4. Most of the money allocated for SBM is being spent on latrine construction, and very little amount is spent on behaviour-change activitiese. information, education, and communication (IEC).
  5. Policymakers need to change people’s behaviour by tackling the casteism and norms of purity and pollution that cause open defecation to persist e.g. latrines promoted by the government require periodic manual pit emptying, which many rural Indians associate with the Dalits.
  6. Also, little attention paid to IEC activities translates into very low awareness of the goals of the SBM.
Oct, 01, 2016

[op-ed snap] Not So Clean

  1. Context: According to WHO, at least 6,00,000 deaths annually in India may be caused by fine particulate matter.
  2. Why particulate matter is so dangerous: Particulates especially PM10 and less can penetrate and get lodged deep in the lungs.
  3. Sources of these pollutants in India: Burning of biomass, such as coal, fuel wood, farm litter and cow dung cakes. Construction debris, road dust and vehicular exhaust in highly built-up areas further add to the problem.
  4. Steps already taken: An Air Quality Index was launched last year aimed at improving pollution control.
  5. Further steps required: Strict implementation of Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules to sustainably manage debris and to use it as a resource.
  6. Providing cleaner fuels and scientifically designed cookstoves to those who have no option but to burn biomass.
  7. Greening the cities with the involvement of civil society, with a focus on landscaping open spaces and paving all public areas to reduce dust.
  8. Expanding comprehensive measurement of these particulates to other major cities.
Oct, 01, 2016

Modi moots ‘Swacchagraha’

  1. PM Modi: Re-use and recycling of waste should be technology driven
  2. Insisted that there should a focus on the concept of waste to wealth so that revenue models could be developed around cleanliness
  3. Waste to wealth: Garbage can be used as a means to create employment and wealth by recycling and then, cleanliness will become a by-product
  4. Swachhagraha: An initiative for cleanliness to get the country dirt-free on the lines of Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘Satyagraha’ that freed us from British rule
  5. ‘Cleanliness is not something to be achieved by budget allocations; It is rather, something that should become a mass movement’
Sep, 30, 2016

Sikkim’s clean villages make it the kingdom of Swachh- II

  1. Anomaly: Kerala, which leads in overall household toilet coverage as per Swachh Bharat surveys, is in the list with only 19.92%
  2. How? This indicates that declarations play a role in the overall assessment
  3. Besides these, the other States identified by the Mission trail the rest with lower coverage
  4. ODF: The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation defines ODF as ‘the termination of faecal-oral transmission, defined by no visible faeces found in the environment/ village and every household as well as public/community institution using safe technology option for disposal of faeces’
Sep, 30, 2016

Sikkim’s clean villages make it the kingdom of Swachh- I

  1. Sikkim (100%) and Himachal Pradesh (55.95%) have the maximum percentage of villages that are ‘Open Defecation Free’ according to the criteria of the Swachh Bharat Mission
  2. Other better performing States with village-level achievements are Haryana, Meghalaya, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh & Rajasthan
  3. The total number of districts declared ODF in the country stand at 23
  4. Background: Three cities in Karnataka, coastal Mangaluru, Udupi and Mysuru, were declared ODF recently
Sep, 24, 2016

Government to organise Swachh Bharat Week from Sep 25

  1. Swachh Bharat Week: As part of the Swachh Bharat Mission, across the country
  2. To celebrate the second anniversary of Swachh Bharat Mission which was launched on October 2, 2014
  3. As part of the initiative, the Ministry of Urban Development and Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation will also organise a day-long India Sanitation Conference (INDOSAN-2016)
Sep, 09, 2016

Sikkim sparkles in NSSO sanitation survey

  1. Source: The survey carried out last year by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO)
  2. The ranking is given on the basis of percentage of households having access to sanitary toilets and using them (either household or community toilets)
  3. Top 10: Sikkim, Kerala, Mizoram, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Meghalaya
  4. Bottom 10: Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Jammu and Kashmir
Aug, 31, 2016

Asali Tarakki campaign for Swachh Bharat Mission

  1. Asali Tarakki: Real Development
  2. Aim: Sanitising six cities of the National Capital Region (NCR)
  3. It will be replicated in other States if it succeeds
  4. About 450 young men and women with communication skills and leadership qualities have been selected as lead motivators
  5. They will spread awareness on Swachh Bharat Mission
Aug, 27, 2016

Most of rural India still opts for open defecation: NSS report

  1. Source: Swachhta Status Report by the National Sample Survey (NSS) Office to track Govt’s flagship programme, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
  2. Defecation: 52.1% of people in rural India choose open defecation compared to 7.5% in urban India
  3. Sanitary toilets: 45.3% rural households reported having it, while in urban areas, the figure stands at 88.8%
  4. Community toilets: 13.1% of the villages and 42% urban wards have community toilets and there is problem with their not being used and not being cleaned
  5. Water: While 87.9% of the urban households were found to have access to water for use in toilets, only 42.5% rural households had this facility
  6. Progress: Since the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) on October 2, 2014 there was an improvement of 8.12% in number of rural households having toilets, with 50.17% rural households covered as of February 2016
Aug, 25, 2016

Dignity and Self-Respect: a new mantra for Swachh Bharat Mission- II

  1. Context: Tata Institute of Social Sciences’ (TISS) report to the Ministry of Urban Development, made after holding public consultations
  2. A statutory National Council for Sanitation should be set up for robust governance and implementation
  3. It will have representation from civil society, academia, technocrats, policy makers, government officials and other stakeholders
  4. The Council can suggest required legal reforms to enhance functioning of the Mission besides promoting evidence based policy making
Aug, 25, 2016

Dignity and Self-Respect: a new mantra for Swachh Bharat Mission- I

  1. Context: Tata Institute of Social Sciences’ (TISS) report to the Ministry of Urban Development, made after holding public consultations
  2. Paradigm shift: Encouraging technocrat approach to make the cleanliness mission a success
  3. Need: Total sanitation and focusing on making the urban poor move away from a life of denial and indignity to one filled with opportunities and dignity
  4. Long term association between the Govts and specialists including ad agencies and behavioral scientists for clearly articulating the real value of sanitation
Jun, 24, 2016

Trekkers should take back trash from forests

  1. News: As part of a Swachh Bharat Mission drive, the Centre has decided to remove garbage bins from 10 prominent wildlife parks
  2. Issue: Visitors were observed to drop litter around garbage bins, inviting animals and thus worsening the man-animal conflict
  3. Alternative: Visitors should carry a jute bag and carry their litter home
  4. Plans are also on to sensitise visitors that could help in keeping the parks clean
  5. Aim: To ensure cleanliness and to reduce man-animal conflict
Apr, 23, 2016

Centre deploys sanitation messengers nationwide

  1. Context: The Ministry of Urban Development has deployed Swachh Dhoots (sanitation messengers)
  2. Aim: To boost its campaign against open defecation
    This has been widely spotted in low-income urban centres
  3. Background: In early March, the Ministry asked the urban local bodies of 75 cities to build self-help groups in every municipality
  4. These included ASHA workers and were to be sent to the neighbourhoods where open defecation is a norm
  5. Of these teams, Swachh Dhoots would be chosen to turn the campaign into a hyper-local one
  6. Idea: To make people anxious about and disgusted at excreting in public spaces
Apr, 20, 2016

More than half rural India still opts for open defecation: NSSO

  1. Context: Swachhta Status Report by the National Sample Survey (NSS) Office
  2. Defecation: 52.1% of people in rural India choose open defecation compared to 7.5% in urban
  3. Toilets: 45.3% rural households reported having a sanitary toilet, while it is 88.8% in urban areas
  4. The lowest of such percentage is in Jharkhand (18.8%), Chhattisgarh & Odisha and the highest in Sikkim (98.2%), Kerala & Mizoram
  5. Community: 13.1% villages and 42% urban wards have community toilets but at some places they are not used or cleaned
  6. Why? Main reason for open defecation is behaviour and mindset of the people who have continued the practice for centuries
  7. Adequate availability of water for toilets is also a concern
Apr, 14, 2016

Over one crore toilets built, but Swachh Bharat still a pipedream

  1. Context: Latest study by the National Sample Survey Organisation
  2. News: Over 1.09 crore toilets were built across the country in the first 11 months of 2015-16 but a majority of people in rural areas did not choose to use them
  3. In urban areas the use of toilets was more prevalent and only 7.5% of the people went for open defecation
  4. Challenge: The lack of toilets in schools also hampers the education of many children, especially girl students
  5. Criticism: The rapid survey also revealed that lack of infrastructure for drainage and disposal of waste
Mar, 23, 2016

Govt. to focus on Swachh Bharat on second anniversary

  1. News: Govt will mark its second anniversary with all the Ministries taking mass pledges on the Swachh Bharat portal on May 26
  2. Draft Plan: Govt has drafted a detailed plan for every day of 2016-17 with different themes every fortnight
  3. First Cleanliness Drive: Beginning on April 1, will target slum areas and discourage them from manual scavenging, in a bid to mark Ambedkar Jayanti on April 14
  4. Relevance: Citizens will be asked to “voluntarily” put ‘friendship bands’ on municipal workers serving in their area, as a part of the plan
  5. Sports personalities, who are Swachh Bharat ambassadors, will hold special drives on National Sports Day on August 29
Mar, 09, 2016

1000 toilets to be installed in slums around railway stations

  1. Context: Union Urban Development Ministry has taken initiative to install 1000 toilets
  2. Where? In the market places, slums areas around railway stations in the state capitals
  3. Why? To make it open defecation free
  4. CSR: These toilets were contributed by Parryware, as part of its corporate social responsibility on the occasion of the Women’s Day
Feb, 16, 2016

Swachh Survekshan -2016 – ranks of 73 cities

  1. Context: 73 cities surveyed for cleanliness have been categorized based on the marks scored by each of them in the ‘Swachh Survekshan- 2016’ survey
  2. Category: 15 cities who scored more than 70% of the total marks of 2000 were categorized as Leaders
  3. 20 cities with scores in the range of 60%-70% are Aspiring Leaders
  4. Range of 50%-60% are the cities who need to accelerate their efforts
  5. Range below 50% are named Slow Movers who need to work harder to improve santiation
  6. Top Rank Cities: Mysuru, Chadigarh, Tiruchirapalli, New Delhi Municipal council, Visakhapatnam
Feb, 15, 2016

Centre may bring law to penalise littering: Venkaiah

  1. Context: Swachh Bharat Mission
  2. The news: The Centre may consider bringing in legislation for imposing fines on those littering in public places
  3. Reason: The govt is providing funds for construction of toilets in every house, and improving infrastructure for solid waste management
  4. When? – Once the basic infrastructure is in place
  5. Model: In Singapore, hefty fines are imposed for spitting and throwing waste by the roadside
Jan, 20, 2016

Ministry of Shipping initiates Project Green Port

  1. The Ministry of Shipping has started ‘Project Green Ports’ which will help in making the major ports across India cleaner and greener.
  2. Project Green Ports will have 2 verticals – Green Ports Initiatives’ related to environmental issues and Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan.
  3. The Green Port Initiatives include sewage/waste water treatment plants, energy generation from renewable energy sources, prohibition of disposal at sea, improving the quality of harbour wastes etc.
  4. Under Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, it has identified few activities with certain time-line to promote cleanliness at the port premises.
Jan, 09, 2016

75 cities to be ranked on sanitation under Swachh Bharat Mission

Swachh Survekshan is the very first survey commissioned by MoUD since the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission.

  1. The Ministry of Urban Development has decided to study and rank 75 cities under the mission “Swachh Survekshan”.
  2. The assessment will be based on sanitation and cleanliness, while also co-opting the public to give its feedback.
  3. It involves three streams of data collection – citizen feedback, municipality self-evaluation and independent assessment.
  4. The task of executing the mission has been entrusted with the Quality Council of India.
Nov, 07, 2015

Now, 0.5% cess on services to support Swachh Bharat

Proceeds from this cess will be exclusively used for Swachh Bharat initiatives.

  1. Government imposed two new levies, a 0.5 per cent Swachh Bharat Cess on all services, now liable to service tax.
  2. A 2 per cent regional connectivity cess on international air travel and flights between metros and big cities.
  3. Decision will increase the service tax outgo on insurance premiums, air fares and cell phone bills.
  4. Cess for the creation of the Regional connectivity fund (RCF) corpus will be levied to enable the regional connectivity scheme.
  5. Scheme provides for viability gap funding (VGF) for operating small aircraft to small towns.
Nov, 04, 2015

New Tariff Policy to Support Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

  1. Government will make it compulsory for power plants located within the radius of 100 kms of the city.
  2. To use processed waste water and release clean water for drinking purpose in the vicinity.
  3. New policy will make it compulsory for the local power distribution companies to buy electricity generated from the waste.
  4. These measures will give a push to Government’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
Oct, 15, 2015

Panel for fuel cess to fund Swachh Bharat

Recommended the levy of a cess on petrol, diesel and telecom services to finance the Swachh Bharat mission.

  1. The high-level NITI Ayog chief ministers’ sub-group on Swachh Bharat was headed by Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.
  2. Centre should bear 75% of the entire cost of the mission, with the states contributing 25%, in the case of under-developed hill states, the ratio would be 90:10.
  3. The panel proposed a cess on accumulated waste produced by mineral waste generation plants like coal, aluminium and iron ore to fund the programme.
  4. The report made a case for issuance of Swachh Bharat bonds to raise resources for the programme which seeks to eliminate open defecation by 2019.
  5. The panel suggested the formulation of a tariff policy for power generated from waste-to-energy plants.
Oct, 10, 2015

Whose Campaign?

Swachh Bharat needs everyone to want a toilet and use it all the time.


How can rural sanitation really take off?

  • The stories of missing and badly constructed toilets, of toilets not being used or used as stores.
  • Some only being used by some in the family or some of the time, of people preferring open defecation and considering it healthier, are endless.

Why do people prefer open defecation and not want toilets or, if they have them, only use them some of the time?

  • Recent research has shown two critical elements: ideas of purity and pollution, and not wanting pits or septic tanks to fill because then they have to be emptied.
  • People have to perceive toilet use and pit-emptying as clean and not polluting.

From recent research,What really need to learn?

  • Collective behaviour change, as in the Swachh Bharat guidelines, is the only way forward. For that, social norms have to change.

How could such a radical, convulsive switch be brought about widely?

  • A precondition is inspired and committed leadership, as well as champions and sustained campaigns in which all citizens and organisations are engaged.
  • The first major thrust is to focus on pit-emptying, encouraging entrepreneurs and a market, as in Bangladesh, for pits of all sorts.
  • Where twin pits, with their advantages over septic tanks, are standard, let leadership be dramatic.
  • The second thrust is brutal, In meetings, posters, and all media, affirming that “shit stunts”. Open defecation accounts for over half of undernutrition, measured as stunting.
  • Open defecation and population density together account for two-thirds of stunting. This applies to much of rural India.
  • Stunting means impaired cognitive development, less schooling, poorer performance in school, less earned later in life, vulnerability to disease through damaged immune systems and even obesity.

So be brutal in pinning responsibility on those who defecate in the open.

Apr, 21, 2015

[oped snap] Death by Breath: Swachh Bharat should include Swachh air

  1. Euro V & VI norms could reduce particulate matter from diesel vehicles by 80%.
  2. Euro VI standards will reduce HC and NOx by 40% over Bharat IV and by 70% over the most prevalent Bharat III.
  3. Bharat IV was first implemented only in 13 cities & opponents of climate control claim that the next stage of Bharat norms should be for pan-India or not at all.
  4. Another issue – Persistent diesel subsidies in the past have led to an explosion of diesel cars – responsible for carcinogenic and other pollutants.
Apr, 19, 2015

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan: Indigenous technologies developed by BARC

  1. Indigenous water purification – uses the Pressure Driven Membrane Processes.
  2. Environment friendly Plasma technologies – Hazardous & toxic compounds are broken down to elemental constituents at high temperatures. Solves the problem of land availability + air pollution.
  3. Unique Multi Stage Biological Treatment Solution – can be implemented as a modular or container on the banks of rivers on Drains/Nalas which discharge waste water to the river.
  4. Refuse Derived Fuel – a processed form of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) and it can be a substitute to coal energy.