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Swachh Bharat Mission – Policy Update 2021 – IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute

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Swachh Bharat Mission – Policy Update 2021 - IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute

Arjun Varma

Background

On 2nd October 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Mission with the objective of “to accelerate the efforts to achieve universal sanitation coverage and to put the focus on sanitation”. Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) and Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) are two components of the Swachh Bharat Mission, focusing on rural and urban sanitation. Under Phase 1 of the mission, on 2 October 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, all villages, Gram Panchayats, Districts, States, and Union Territories in India had declared themselves “open-defecation free” (ODF) by constructing over 100 million toilets in rural India, costing close to Rs 1.3 Lakh Crore. 

The objectives of the Mission according to Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs

  • Elimination of open defecation
  • Eradication of Manual Scavenging
  • Modern and Scientific Municipal Solid Waste Management
  • To effect behavioural change regarding healthy sanitation practices
  • Generate awareness about sanitation and its linkage with public health
  • Capacity Augmentation for ULB’s
  • To create an enabling environment for private sector participation in Capex (capital expenditure) and Opex (operation and maintenance)

Components of the Swachh Bharat Mission:

  • Household toilets, including conversion of insanitary latrines into pour-flush latrines;
  • Community toilets
  • Public toilets
  • Solid waste management
  • IEC (Information, Education and Communication) & Public Awareness
  • Capacity building and Administrative & Office Expenses (A&OE)

To ensure that the progress of Phase 1 is sustained, the government has launched Phase 2 of the mission, ODF-Plus. Under Phase II of the Swachh Bharat Mission, ODF Plus activities will promote ODF behaviours while focusing on interventions for the safe management of solid and liquid waste in communities. The Government of India’s involvement is primarily to support the efforts of state governments by designating a specific program as a Mission, acknowledging its critical importance to the country.

Key Elements of the Strategy for Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) Phase 2 –

  1. Augmenting the institutional capacity of districts for undertaking intensive behaviour change activities at the grassroots level
  2. Strengthening the capacities of implementing agencies to roll out the programme in a time-bound manner and to measure collective outcomes
  3. Incentivizing the performance of State-level institutions to implement behavioural change activities in communities

Performance

The Ministry of Jal Shakti authorised the Swachh Bharath Mission (Grameen) in February 2020. It underlines the importance of building on Phase I’s achievements and providing suitable Solid/Liquid and Plastic Waste Management (SLWM) facilities in rural India. Despite the global pandemic of the COVID-19 virus and various national-level lockdowns, Phase-II is progressing well, with 1249 villages designated as ODF Plus. The following shows the achieved numbers of the Mission since 2nd October 2014.

11,96,639 toilets have been constructed in FY 2021-22 till now. According to the Ministry of Jal Shakti Dashboard, 6,02,988 villages have been declared as ODF, of which 6,02,244 have been verified.  (Ministry of Jal Shakti, Dashboard). 711 districts and 35 (States/Union Territories) have been declared ODF. The number of Household Toilets constructed has been increasing since 2014, where 10,85,75,917 has been constructed up to the FY 2021-22 (Ministry of Jal Shakti, Dashboard).

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Individual Household Latrines (IHHL), Under SBM, individuals receive roughly Rupees Twelve Thousand for the construction of toilets in their respective households. According to the Ministry of Jal Shakti, 56,97,228 individual family latrines would be built under the Swachh Bharat Mission-Grameen in 2020-21 and 2021-22.

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From 2014-15 (Rs 2,841 crore) to 2017-18 (Rs 16,888 crore), expenditure on Swachh Bharat – Gramin increased steadily before declining in succeeding years. Furthermore, the scheme’s spending surpassed the planned amount by more than 10% from 2015 to 2018. Since 2018-19, however, there has been some under-utilization of the allocated funds; this could be because of the achievement of set target by the mission by 2nd October 2019.

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SBM-Urban aspired to eliminate open defecation in India’s cities and achieve 100 percent scientific waste management across the country’s 4,000+ municipalities. By October 2, 2019, one of its goals was to build 66 lakh individual household toilets (IHHLs). However, by 2019, the aim was reduced to 59 lakh IHHLS. By 2020, this goal had been met.

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Functioning

Swachh Bharath (Grameen) has been restructured from the pre-existing policy of Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA). As it was restructured the amount of the individual units cost of IHHL was increased from Rupees 10,000 to Rupees 12,000.  In the effort for IHHL , the cost has been shared between the centre and the state in the following proportion:

  1. From the Swachh Bharat Mission, the central share for IHHLs will be Rs. 7200 (60 percent) (Gramin) and State share to be Rs. 4800 (40 percent)
  2. The national share will be Rs. 10,800  (90 percent) for North Eastern States, Jammu & Kashmir, and Special Category States, and the state portion would be Rs. 1,200 (10 percent)

Funding Structure for SBM (G):

  1. IEC will account for 8% of the entire project cost, with 3% allocated at the federal level and 5% allocated at the state level.
  2. Administrative costs will be budgeted at 2% of the total project cost. The sharing pattern will be 60:40 between the federal government and the states.
  3. The money for SLWM will be split 60:40 (Centre: State).
  4. CSCs (Centre, State and Community) will only be built if the Gram Panchayat assumes ownership and a long-term management and maintenance system can be established. The proportion of funding will be 60:30:10 (Centre : State : Community)

Administrative Structure – SBM (Urban)

The entire monitoring and supervision of SBM will be overseen by a National Advisory and Review Committee (NARC) chaired by the Secretary (Urban). The NARC may delegate various tasks to the SBM National Objective Directorate’s National Mission Director (NMD) as it sees fit to ensure that the mission is completed expeditiously.

A National Mission Director will lead the SBM National Mission Directorate, in charge of all SBM-related activities (Urban). A dedicated Project Management Unit (PMU) will serve the Mission Directorate, with four verticals: program management, IEC & Media, Information Technology, and Monitoring & Evaluation. The Mission Directorate will develop a framework for State Mission Directorate support and, if needed, offer relevant guidelines and advisories to states.

Preparation, approval, and online publication of the State Sanitation Strategy (SSS) for the respective State and City Sanitation Plan (CSP) for all cities included under SBM will be handled by a State High Powered Committee (SHPC) chaired by the State’s Chief Secretary (Urban)

Administrative Structure – SBM (Gramin)

SBM(G) implementation necessitates extensive social mobilization and monitoring. A five-tier implementation method has been mandated at the national, state, district, block, and village levels. The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation will establish the Swachh Bharat Mission. The Mission Director will be Secretary DWS.

A State Swachh Bharat Mission should be established to implement the rural water supply and sanitation program in the State, with departments dealing with rural sanitation, rural drinking water supply, school education, health, women and child development, water resources, agriculture, publicity, and so on. A District Swachh Bharat Mission would be constituted at the district level, with appropriate amendments to the existing District Water and Sanitation Mission/Committee. The participation of the District Collector/Magistrate/CEO Zilla Panchayat would be crucial in the implementation of the initiative since line departments will play a catalytic role.

Impact

In 2014 and 2018, the Research Institute for Compassionate Economics surveyed 3,235 households in four northern Indian states. It revealed that in the four years since Swachh Bharat was begun, open defecation had decreased by 26 percentage points, with access to household toilets increasing from 37 percent in 2014 to 71 percent in 2018. Evidence suggests that diarrheal illness outbreaks are caused by open defecation and poor sanitation practices. Pathogens can infect individuals through faecal-oral transmission techniques when they defecate openly. Since 2014, outbreaks of acute diarrheal disease (ADD) have declined, with 2017 having one of the lowest rates of outbreak compared to past regimes. The below figure gives the impact of IHHL coverage on diarrhoea cases in children below 5 years (Figure 1). This shows the state-wise trend in the number of cases of Diarrhoea in children below the age of 5 (Figure 2).

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Emerging Issues

  1. In rural India, 77 percent of families have access to toilets, and 93 percent of them use them on a regular basis. The Standing Committee on Rural Development, led by Dr. P Venugopal, did highlight, however, that in the past, the rate of ODF certified villages falling back was extremely high. Because of the following factors:
  2. filing of wrong information regarding attaining of ODF status
  3. non-sustainability of toilets.  This has led to ODF villages going back to open defecation, while as per records, they remain ODF. 

The Committee suggested that correct information on ODF-designated settlements be collected on a regular basis, either through institutional mechanisms or through resurveys.

  • In 2017-18 and 2018-19, the unspent amount under SBM-G was Rs 4,197 crore and Rs 9,890 crore, respectively. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh are among the states with substantial unspent balances. Unspent amounts are caused by a variety of factors, including:
  • insufficient capacity building at the grassroots level
  • use of revolving funds and other forms of credit

Unspent balances should be eliminated, according to the Committee, by tightening implementation limits and monitoring closely. If State Implementing Agencies do not use the standard allocation, the government may devise state-specific action plans to liquidate the remaining funds.

  • The Committee acknowledged that the inadequate quality of raw materials utilized in constructing toilets under SBM-G is a concern. In early 2020, the Standing Committee on Urban Development stated that toilets constructed under the scheme in East Delhi are of poor quality and need proper maintenance. It expressed grave worry over the situation and requested that the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation guarantee that only high-quality raw materials are utilized in toilet construction.
  • In 2018, the Standing Committee on Rural Development expressed similar concerns, stating that even a hamlet with 100% household toilets cannot be certified (ODF) unless all of the residents begin to use them.
  • The Standing Committee on Urban Development (2021) was also concerned about the slow pace at which source segregation and waste processing targets were being met. During the 2020-21 year, they completed 78 percent and 68 percent of the goals set under SBM-Urban, respectively.

Way Forward

The COVID – 19 pandemic has made the country more aware of personal cleanliness and health. This awareness must be increased to achieve the Swachh Bharat Mission’s objectives. The goal healthy lifestyle and hygienic environment are being given priority even at workplaces. Urban India has evolved to tackle the crisis. Rural India is still left to rise to the potential to ensure safety to the people.

Only by tackling these numerous aspects will the dream of a clean India be realised –

  • Sustaining a Swachhata culture in public locations outside of individual homes
  • Cleaning up water bodies
  • scientific waste management
  • dealing with plastic menace
  • controlling air pollution

The efforts for SBM need to be completed regularly to keep the momentum and behavioural change going. SBM should focus on reaching 100 % solid and liquid waste disposal in the future. Many states are now not putting enough emphasis on this issue. To maintain the momentum established by SBM, it is necessary to assure the availability of financial resources and a shift in mindset. Due to the significant resource requirements, it is necessary to promote and sustain new funding mechanisms by looking at the applicability of various financial instruments in diverse contexts and activities. Local governments must establish a framework for relying on private companies’ CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and crowdsourcing funds.

SBM must include environmental and water management challenges for long-term sustainability and progress. The consequences of climate change and extreme weather events are predicted to increase water availability challenges soon. As a result, the SBM mission should not be limited to the construction of toilets; it should broaden its scope, as the administrative structure that the mission employs may aid in the pursuit of other social change initiatives.

Selected References and important links

https://prsindia.org/policy/report-summaries/swachh-bharat-mission-gramin-in-states-uts

https://swachhbharatmission.gov.in/SBMCMS/about-us.htm

https://mohua.gov.in/cms/swachh-bharat-mission.php

https://www.indiabudget.gov.in/budget20120/economicsurvey/doc/vol1chapter/echap08_vol1.pdf

http://swachhbharaturban.gov.in/writereaddata/SBM_Guideline.pdf

https://swachhbharatmission.gov.in/sbmcms/writereaddata/images/pdf/Guidelines/Complete-set-guidelines.pdf

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About the Author

Arjun Varma is a researcher at IMPRI and an undergraduate student at the Jindal School of Government and Public Policy with a keen interest in Political Science and Macroeconomics.

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