PM Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is unstoppable, no longer a ‘sarkari plan’, says sanitation expert Parameswaran Iyer

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New Delhi | Published: September 23, 2017 12:12:13 PM

Parameswaran Iyer recently spoke on the challenges of sustaining Open Defecation Free (ODF) villages and also said that Swachh Bharat has transcended caste, emphasises the role of “twin pits” in ending manual scavenging and endorses the “incentive approach” for better sanitation.

Parameswaran Iyer, Parameswaran Iyer Swachh Bharat, Swachh Bharat campaign, PM Modi swachh bharat, swachh bharat mission, Open Defecation Free, sanitation in india, PM Modi on sanitation, UNICEF on swachh bharat, UNICEFThe sanitation expert also said that the party is conscious of the fact that it (Swachh Bharat) is a behaviour change movement. (Image: PTI)

Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation recently spoke on the challenges of sustaining Open Defecation Free (ODF) villages and also said that Swachh Bharat has transcended caste, emphasises the role of “twin pits” in ending manual scavenging and endorses the “incentive approach” for better sanitation. According to a release by PIB India, Iyer said, “The Swachh Bharat Mission has been underway for a couple of years and in this period, the sanitation coverage has gone up from 42 per cent to 64 per cent.” The sanitation expert also said that the party is conscious of the fact that it (Swachh Bharat) is a behaviour change movement. “The Prime Minister keeps talking about the mission turning into a janandolan (people’s movement). I think it has captured the imagination of the country,” Iyer added further.

All state governments are on board with the campaign. Iyer also stated that some states such as Jammu and Kashmir are at the lower end, whereas states such as Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala have achieved more than the desired results. The PIB release further informed that more than two lakh villages have become ODF and this is not just about achieving the status and then forgetting, but sustaining it. The government has taken a lot of steps to promote, educate and make people aware of the campaign. “We have launched a campaign from Mumbai called ‘Darwaza Band’ which is basically to ‘shut the door during defecation’ and is focused on both men and women,” Iyer said.

Even Bollywood actors including Amitabh Bachchan and Anushka Sharma have been signed as the brand ambassadors of the campaign. Also on the grassroots level, there are ‘Swachhagrahis’ – trained motivators who go out and educate communities about the importance of behavioural changes.

Recently, the United National International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) undertook a study to estimate the cost benefits that PM Modi’s Swachh Bharat mission will have. The organisation found out that every rupee that is invested in improving sanitation in the country will help save Rs 4.30.

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