India

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan meeting targets: govt

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan meeting targets: govt

New Delhi: The government has cited a UNICEF survey carried out in 10,000 households across the country to claim that the Swachh Bharat Mission is meeting its targets, three years after its launch.

The survey, conducted across 12 states, says that 85 per cent members of the households studied were using toilets, a government release said.

“The third party survey clearly shows that the government has been able to bring in awareness about sanitation through the drive,” said Parmeswaran Iyer, secretary Water Supply and Sanitation.

Nicolas Osbert, who heads the UNICEF’s Drinking Water and Sanitation section, said, “India has been able to catalyse and mobilise the efforts of millions of citizens and the Swachh Bharat Mission is a once-in-a generation opportunity”.

Speaking to mediapersons at a programme on ‘Swachhta Hi Seva’ here, Osbert said the mission is taking place “concretely” on the ground.

“Beyond the hundreds of thousands of toilets being built, a genuine prioritising of behaviour change interventions is taking place,” he said, praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the mission.

Quoting a World Bank report published in 2008, he said the total economic impact of inadequate sanitation in India amounted to USD 53.8 billion per year, equivalent of 6.4 per cent of the country’s then GDP.

In a fully open defecation-free community, considering medical costs averted, the value of time savings, and the value of mortality averted, the financial saving for each household is Rs 50,000 per year, Osbert said

He also appreciated the move of the government in creating sanitation volunteers with the support of UNICEF for doing a commendable service.

Praising the 15-day ‘Swachhta hi Seva’ movement, Osbert said that the campaign is a “great opportunity” to galvanize the drive.

—PTI