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Why We Need to Take Note of These ‘Swachh’ Events That May Have Gone Unnoticed

community sanitary complexes

Creating a social movement is an enormous task that happens once in a while. The cleanliness movement Swachh Bharat Abhiyan that PM Modi launched soon after he came to power back in 2014 is one such a movement and a model of success. But, sustaining the spirit of a popular movement demands a level of engagement as well.

Amidst all the busy schedules, you could see the Prime Minister taking time out to inaugurate Rashtriya Swachhata Kendra – an interactive experience centre on the Swachh Bharat Mission, at the Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti at Rajghat, and interact with young minds, having a conversation about cleanliness.

From Household Toilets to Community Sanitary Complex

It is not just about one or two events but the work on ground that speaks.

After building more than 10 crore toilets in rural India since October 2014, the nation declared that it is open defecation-free in October 2019. Does this end the role of cleanliness revolution? Not at all, and here comes the part of sustaining the gains of the Swachh Bharat Mission.

As this report notes, Standing Committee on Rural Development’s 56th Report on the Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) recommended in 2018 that the Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation should concentrate on the idea of more Community Sanitary Complexes (CSCs) at designated places, with proper infrastructure that could cater to a large population.

When the government unveiled the 2nd phase of Swachh Bharat Mission, it took the issue into consideration. Among other things, financial assistance to the Gram Panchayats for construction of Community Managed Sanitary Complex (CMSC) at village level has been increased from Rs 2 lakh to Rs 3 lakh per CMSC.

Perhaps the most satisfying thing to note is the fact that the pandemic situation has also not deterred the administration from working on this goal. As the Secretary of Drinking Water and Sanitation apprises, the building of community sanitary complexes is going on in full steam.

The Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan also focused on building toilets, among other things. This gave jobs to migrant labourers affected from the lockdown on the one hand and helped to create assets for the community on the other hand.

In a rather noisy news cycle, the progress happening in the sphere of cleanliness may subdued. But it is important note these developments as they indicate that India not only sparked a revolution in cleanliness after 2014, but also managed to sustain the mega revolution.

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