Thursday November 23, 2017

From Total Sanitation Campaign to Swachh Bharat Mission: Over 17 Years, same 5 States hobble Sanitation Mission

No more than 19 per cent of households in Bihar had toilets under earlier sanitation campaigns, followed by Jharkhand with 32 percent

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Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Flickr

October 10, 2016: Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha andJharkhand are the worst performing states under the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), which celebrated its second anniversary on October 2, 2016, with fanfare.

No more than 23 per cent households in these five states use toilets, as on September 28, 2016, an increase of only two percent over 15 years, according to government data.

They say history repeats itself; this seems to be ringing true for India’s sanitation programmes.

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The worst-performing states under the SBM are the same as they were under the Total Sanitation Campaign, launched 17 years ago by NDA-1 — the first time the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) came to power. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government that followed changed the name of the campaign to Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Campaign) and increased it to 607 districts.

Together, these states account for 37 percent of India’s 1.2 billion people: 448 million people live in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Jharkhand — only China with 1.3 billion has more people than these five states. Without headway here, the SBM is not likely to succeed.

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As many as 23 million toilets have now been built across the country, which means 55 percent of Indian households had toilets (till September 28, 2016), up from 42 percent in 2014.

As many as 1,536 villages have been declared open defecation free, up from 697 in 2014; as many as 23 districts are open-defecation free, up from seven districts in 2014.

Bihar had the lowest proportion of households with toilets in 2016: 25 percent, which is an improvement from 22 percent in 2014, according to government data.

Odisha reported an increase in the proportion of households with toilets, from 12 percent in 2014 to 33 percent in 2016, the largest increase among the bottom five states, but it is still it below the national average of 55 percent households with individual toilets.

Odisha also reported the largest proportion of households practising open defecation (77 percent), followed by Bihar (76 per cent) and Jharkhand (64 percent), according to an answer given to the Lok Sabha by the Minister of Sanitation in February 2016.

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No more than 19 per cent of households in Bihar had toilets under earlier sanitation campaigns, followed by Jharkhand with 32 per cent. More than 91 percent of households practised open defecation in Jharkhand in 2011, followed by Madhya Pradesh (86 per cent) and Odisha (84 per cent).

These states — UP, Bihar, MP, Odisha and Jharkhand — received 45 percent of the national budget for sanitation programmes, IndiaSpend reported in October 2012.

The main reason for sanitation failures in these states is the lack of information and education on sanitation, especially in MP, where large swathes of land are inhabited by tribals. Up to 21 percent of MP is tribal, who speak at least seven languages, while the literature provided by the government is in Hindi, according to this 2015 report by the Comptroller Auditor &General (CAG).

The CAG report also revealed how 13 state governments used sanitation funds for other purposes, such as salary advances and paid leave for staff, vehicle purchases, pension contributions and creation of capital assets such as office and school buildings. (IANS)

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Modi seeks Healthy Media Debate on Democracy in Political Parties

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Wikimedia

New Delhi, October 28: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday urged the media to debate democracy and the democratic values of political parties for transparency in the evolution of their leadership and in their recruitment.

“You (the media) show us what we need to focus on. Democracy in political parties is something that the country is adapting to. We need to have transparency in the recruitment that political parties do. How the leadership of a political party evolves? What kind of opportunities are given to new generations? Do democratic values form the core of their values. It should become an issue of our debate and deeply so,” Modi said in his address to the media at the BJP’s annual Diwali Milan here.

At the event that was also attended by BJP President Amit Shah along and other senior party leaders, the Prime Minister highlighted media’s positive role in promoting democratic values in India.

“Democracy in political parties is a subject more people should know more about. It is true that the funding of political parties is a point of media discussion and many things come out in the open. But overall, how they are formed, how they function, how they recruit, their values, their ideologies and their weaknesses, what is the reason behind such weaknesses… all this should be debated,” he said, adding that political parties evolving “with a true democratic spirit is necessary for the country, necessary for a democracy”.

“I hope the people who are here will one day carry the debate forward.”

He paid his gratitude to media for its “positive role” it played in making the Swachh Bharat Mission a success, despite criticizing the government over other issues.

“Half of the newspaper pages would be filled with the government’s criticism. But when it comes to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, all are on the same page. I thank each one of you for making it a personal mission.”(IANS)

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Achieving Goal of “Swachh Bharat” Will Be True Tribute to Mahatma Gandhi: Ram Nath Kovind

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Swachh Bharat
President Ram Nath Kovind

New Delhi, Oct 1, 2017: Urging cleanliness be made a national movement, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Sunday that achieving the goal of “Swachh Bharat” will be true tribute to Mahatma Gandhi.

Kovind, who is currently in Maharashtra on an official tour, will visit Gujarat, the home state of Gandhi on his birth anniversary to pay tributes to the Father of the Nation.

On the eve of Gandhi Jayanti, the President said that Gandhi Jayanti is an occasion to rededicate to the ideals and values of Mahatma Gandhi, who believed that ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’.

“Cleanliness is not only the responsibility of sanitation personnel and government departments. Today, India is fighting a decisive battle for cleanliness and hygiene through the ‘Swachhta Hi Seva’ campaign.

“Let us also commit ourselves to ensuring public hygiene, personal hygiene and environmental hygiene. It is a multi-stakeholder national movement. Achieving the goals of the Swachh Bharat Mission expeditiously will be a true expression of tribute and regard to Gandhiji on his birth anniversary,” he said.

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Describing Gandhi as a man of simple living and a moral preceptor, Kovind said that he gave a new direction to the country through his leadership.

“His philosophy of non-violence and peaceful co-existence is of increasing relevance in the present times. Through the symbols of Charkha, the spinning wheel and khadi, he stressed the message of self-reliance and dignity of labour,” he said.

Kovind will commence his Gujarat engagements with paying his tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at his birth place, Kirti Mandir at Porbandar.

Later, he will attend a function organised by the state government to declare Open Defacation Free status for rural Gujarat at Kirti Mandir.

The President will also inaugurate various projects including upgradation of Veraval and Porbandar fishing Harbour, upgradation of Navibandar, Miyani and Salaya Fish Landing Centre, laying the stone for development of Mangrol Phase-III fishing Harbour, announcement for development of Veraval Phase-II.

He will also foundation stone of Porbandar Phase-II, Navabandar, Mandhavad and Sutrapada Fishing Harbours and inauguration of Mangrol Rural Water Supply Augmentation Scheme of 45 villages at Mangrol, an official statement said. (IANS)

 

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Anushka cleans beach for Clean India campaign

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anushka sharma, gandhi

Mumbai, Sep 29 : Actress-producer Anushka Sharma, who was nominated as a Swachh Bharat Abhiyan ambassador, has lent her support to the cleaning of a beach here.

Anushka on Friday shared a series of photographs in which she is seen cleaning the Versova beach.

“‘An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching’ – Mahatma Gandhiji. Swachh Bharat. Swachhata Hi Seva,” she captioned the image.

Earlier this month, Anushka was invited by Modi to be a part of his government’s ‘Swachhata Hi Seva’ initiative. Apart from the actress, Modi had also invited Malayalam superstar Mohanlal to be part of the movement.

On the acting front, the “NH10” actress is currently busy with her next production “Pari”.

She is also launching her clothing line which will be out on October 3.(ians)