Government’s move to make the nation open-defecation-free has noticed good progress. A WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) report has suggested as much as 47 per cent decline in the practice of open defecation in India between the year 2000 and 2017. The report also noted a good growth in the access gained by Indias to use basic sanitation facilities. As much as 43 per cent of Indians gained access to basic sanitation, the report suggested. Open Defecation has been a major issue in the country since decades and the government had made efforts to eliminate it. The practice of Open defecation is a major threat to hygiene and leads to many health issues among individuals involved in the practice. The reason behind a huge section of the society practising it was lack of basic sanitation facilities.
According to ANI, the WHO/UNICEF report stated, “As much as One-third of the population of Nepal and Lao People’s Democratic Republic, over half of the population of Cambodia and Ethiopia, and nearly half of the population of India have stopped practising open defecation since the year 2000.”
The Government of Indian, in the year 2014 had taken conscious steps towards making the nation open defecation free (ODF) as a part of the Swachh Bharat Mission, which was launched in the same year. Swachh Bharat Mission aimed to achieve clean and open defecation free India by October 2, 2019. The government under this programme made provision to provide or help in accessing basic sanitation facilities to the people.
The awareness about the issues related to open defecation has helped the government achieve the objective of the Mission. The objective of the Swachh Bharat Mission was to generate demand for toilets, which in turn would lead to toilet construction and sustainable use by all household members. The Swachh Bharat Mission also aimed at promoting better hygiene behaviour amongst the population. It has also improved cleanliness by initiating solid and liquid waste management projects.
Swachh Bharat Mission has noted an increase in the financial allocations in consecutive years. The financial allocations were increased from Rs 2850 crore in FY 15 to Rs 6525 crore in FY 16, and further to Rs 10,500 crore FY 17. The financial allocations of this program were increased to Rs 14000 crore in FY 18. As many as 48,264,304 toilets were constructed under the Swachh Bharat Mission in the last 3 years. Also, 2,38,966 number of villages have become open defecation free.
The WHO/UNICEF report suggested that an estimated 2.1 billion people around the world have gained access to basic sanitation during 2000-2017.