What ‘Swachh Bharat’ Ignores Is The Very Reason Why India Can’t Be Open Defecation Free

Posted on March 31, 2016 in In Deep Shit, Video

By YKA Staff:

India is trying to make rapid strides towards ‘development’ by introducing programmes like Make In India in an attempt to put India on the global map of innovation and industrialisation. But there’s another issue which needs more immediate attention.

595 million – that’s the number of people who do not use toilets in India. The reasons are varied, ranging from no access to separate toilets for girls or toilets in general to lack of awareness and ill-management of the existing toilets. The problem is not just confined to lack of hygiene and sanitation. The gravity of the situation can be measured by a UNICEF report which makes a direct connection between chronic diarrhoea and stunting to open defecation. Diarrhoea is one of the biggest killers of the young in India, a country where over 1000 children lose their lives every day.

Although with the ambitious Swachh Bharat Mission, that was launched on October 2nd, 2014, the Central government claims to put an end to open defecation in the country by 2019, the ground reports are far from inspiring.

According to 2015 news reports, despite the ongoing Swachh Bharat campaign, about 1.3 crore toilets in India remain defunct and in need of urgent repairs. Apart from the sorry state of maintenance, not much is being done to inculcate behavioural change in people.

A long-term and wide-ranging plan is required wherein apart from infrastructure, equal attention is paid to building maintenance mechanisms and behavioural development patterns. We can’t expect the country to grow and develop if half the population suffers from lack of a basic amenity.

Considering the above, it is pertinent to ask if just building toilets will make the country open defecation free and ‘swachh’? Watch the video and decide for yourself:

In Swachh Bharat's first year, 97% of funds were allocated for building toilets, but only 1% went towards creating awareness among people about using them and keeping them clean. With such an imbalance, can India ever be open defecation-free? Watch this video and tell us what you think.

Posted by Youth Ki Awaaz on Wednesday, 30 March 2016

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