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Universal Sanitation-the core of India’s development agenda

The Swacch Bharat Mission is fast becoming a mass movement, or in the words of Prime Minister Narendra Modi – a jan andolan

As they say, no one can stop an idea whose time has come.

Amidst the backdrop of a bloody world war, when violence was the order of the time, India achieved independence through non-violent civil disobedience, through Satyagraha. The entire nation rallied behind the Mahatma’s call and India achieved her independence setting an example for the world. It was an idea whose time had come.

Likewise, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for a Swachh Bharat with universal sanitation by 2 October 2019, at a time when India leads the infamous list of countries with the highest number of people practising open defecation, is an idea whose time has come.

Open defecation dates back to the beginning of human civilisation. It has been a way of life for millions of people in India for centuries. Successive governments have been running national sanitation programmes since the 1980s, but till 2014 only 39% of Indians had access to safe sanitation facilities.

This is because access to sanitation is not an infrastructure problem, there is a deeper behavioural and socio-cultural context at play. Influencing a change in behaviour for 60 crore people is a challenge that has probably never been undertaken by anyone in the world.

This could only be achieved through an intensive, time-bound intervention, spearheaded from the highest level, and involving all sections of society and government alike. The Swachh Bharat Mission’s Swachhagraha has caught the nation’s imagination just the way the Mahatma’s Satyagraha had, many years ago.

Reference: The Economic times

 

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