NEW DELHI: The government today said that more than 99 per cent of the cities across the country have become Open Defecation Free, ODF. Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry today celebrated six glorious years of Swachh Bharat Mission – urban and organised a webinar on ‘Swachhata ke 6 saal, Bemisaal‘.
From zero ODF states and cities in 2014, more than 97 per cent of Indian cities have now become ODF.
Similarly, from a meagre 18 per cent of solid waste processing in 2014, now up to 67 per cent of solid waste is being processed, and more than 77 per cent wards are practising source segregation.
It was a mammoth task but a determined political leadership and a Jan Andolan literally transformed the landscape. I feel immensely proud, as well as humbled, to see how every citizen of urban India has come together to make that dream a tangible reality. pic.twitter.com/mK4dgBYb4g
— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) October 2, 2020
Speaking on the occasion, Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said, it is time to reaffirm pledge for Swachhatam Bharat, Swasthatam Bharat – Cleaner and healthier India.
He said that this spirit of Jan Andolan and Jan Bhagidari is exemplified by the Swachh Survekshan 2020 in which over 12 crores of citizens have participated in the survey. The Minister said, when Swachh Bharat Mission- urban was launched in 2014, it was with the vision of achieving Clean India by 2nd October 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of MK Gandhi.
The event also saw select states and cities such as Uttarakhand, Kerala, Imphal, Dungarpur, Khargone etc their experiences of the past six years and chalking out the next steps towards a Swachhatam Bharat.
Participants also got the opportunity to listen to the experiences of SBM-U’s development partners that include the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), GIZ, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). A series of key publications were also launched by the Ministry.
While the document ‘Frontline Stories of Resilience: India’s Sanitation Champions’ compiled by the National Faecal Sludge and Septage Management (NFSSM) Alliance presents inspirational stories of sanitation workers from across the country, the ‘COVID Diaries: Responses of Indian Cities to COVID-19’ by the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) documents a range of actions and initiatives taken by Indian cities during the first four months of lockdown period of Covid-19 and provides a Resilient Urban Sanitation Response (RUSR) Framework, which can be applied by cities in responding to the pandemic situation.
Along with this, the Minister also released the ‘Almanac of Waste Management Practices’, a compendium of best practices and innovative case studies in SWM. Capacity building of officials and staff of ULBs has been an integral part of the Mission.
As part of this endeavour, the Ministry, with the help of National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) has conducted over 150 workshops across India witnessing the participation of over 6000 officials representing over 3200 ULBs since 2016.
The interactive SBM-U portal developed by NIUA documents the learnings from these workshops. Safety of sanitation workers, the frontline Swachhata Warriors of the Mission has always been a key focus under the Mission.
In an effort to sensitize ULBs for taking immediate interventions to reduce vulnerabilities of sanitation workers and safeguard their rights., the Ministry also released a Ready Reckoner for Ensuring Safety of Sanitation Workers prepared by the Urban Management Centre (UMC).
The Sanitation Mapping Tool developed by UMC to help ULBs to make their public and community toilets (PT/ CT) ODF+ was also launched by the Ministry.