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The People's Policy

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  • Published
    2nd Jan, 2020
  • Team Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G) has identified four key pillars of India's sanitation revolution, which can, more or less, be applied to any large-scale transformation in the world.
  • First is political leadership:  Arguably, the biggest game-changer for the SBM-G was the Prime Minister investing his personal political capital in the mission
  • Second is public financing: Over Rs. 1 lakh crore was committed to ensuring universal access to sanitation. About 90 per cent of 10 crore households which received toilets were from socially and economically weaker sections of society and they received financial incentives to build and use toilets.
  • Third is partnerships: The SBM-G Partnered with implementers and influencers alike. This "all hands on deck" approach, making sanitation everyone's business, helped to mainstream it into the national consciousness.
  • Fourth is peoples' participation: The SBM-G trained over half a million swachhagrahis, grassroot motivators, who triggered behaviour change in every village of India.
  • A large-scale transformation can be truly successful if it captures the imagination of the people and becomes a people's movement or a Jan Andolan. Administrative disruption led to efficient on-ground implementation.
  • It started with the Prime Minister setting a target, a sunset clause for the Mission- 2 October, 2019.
  • A sunset clause brought with it a sense of urgency and accountability. The next important step was building a team of people who believed that the goal is achievable.
  • Low-hanging fruits were targeted first-the districts with the highest sanitation coverage-to become ODF on priority. This created a demonstration effect for others to learn from and created belief in the system.
  • The SBM-G made sanitation glamorous by engaging extensively with the media, leaverging popular culture, and associating Bollywood stars, etc.
  • And lastly, the mission kept the buzz alive throughout its lifecycle through regular, large-scale events with the Prime Minister at important milestones, helping sanitation stay on top of public recall. The Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation recently released the forward-looking 10-year Rural Sanitation Strategy to move from ODF to ODF Plus, focusing on sustaining the SBM-G gains.  
  • The next ambition goal announced by the Prime Minister on August 15 this year is to ensure piped water supply to all households by 2024.
  • With the programme in mission mode for the next five years, this will be an additional shot in the arm for SBM-G's sustainability efforts.   

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