Data Focus

Flush with success, Swachh Bharat scheme on path to sustainability

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on January 28, 2021

More budgetary support for civic bodies may be key

India has made remarkable leaps in the Swachh Bharat Mission - Urban (SBM - U). Against zero Open Defecation Free (ODF) cities in 2014, about 99 per cent of Indian cities today are ODF. From a meagre 18 per cent in 2014, today Indian cities are processing 68 per cent of the solid waste generated.

SBM-U, launched in 2014 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeks to make India 100 per cent ODF, along with complete solid waste management (SWM) in all statutory towns in the country.

According to government data, since the beginning of the mission, it has achieved 105 per cent of the total target in constructing individual household toilets, 118 per cent in constructing community and public toilet.


Sustainability targets

SBM was initially planned till 2019. But the government has now extended it with a focus on sustainability. It has launched the ODF+ and ODF++ protocols, with a focus on sustaining mission outcomes and achieving holistic sanitation.

The ODF+ protocol focusses on operation and maintenance of community/public toilets by ensuring functionality and maintenance for continued usage. ODF++ focusses on addressing safe management of faecal sludge from toilets and ensuring that no untreated sludge is discharged into open drains, water bodies or in the open. ODF+ and ODF++ cities are very few.

According to the Centre for Policy Research, for FY21, the Centre allocated ₹2,300 crore to SBM-U: a 77 per cent increase from the Revised Estimates (REs) for FY20, but a 13 per cent decrease from the Budget Estimates (BEs) for the year.

Urban bodies in India have been demanding that the States and Centre help them maintain public toilets and process solid waste. Their financial resources have been dwindling, especially after the octroi was scrapped.

Civic bodies are largely dependent on government funds to execute development plans. They need continued support to ensure SBM-U achieves sustainable targets.

Published on January 28, 2021

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