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Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM)

GS-2 Mains

Revision Notes


Question : Analyze the achievements and challenges of the Swachh Bharat Mission in achieving universal sanitation coverage in India. What are the key factors contributing to its success.


  • India’s low ranking in the 2022 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) raises questions about Swachh Bharat Mission’s (SBM) success.
  • EPI ranks countries on environmental health, climate change performance, and ecosystem vitality.
  • The government criticizes the EPI methodology for not reflecting India’s scenario accurately.

About Swachh Bharat Mission

  • Launched in 2014 to achieve universal sanitation coverage by 2019.
  • Components:
    • SBM (Urban): Implemented by Ministry of Urban Development.
    • SBM (Gramin / Rural): Implemented by Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
  • Goals:
    • Improve living standards.
    • Eradicate open defecation.
    • Solid and liquid waste management.
  • Phases:
    • SBM Phase I (2014-2019): Focused on toilet construction and ODF status.
    • SBM Phase II (2020-2025): Focuses on ODF Plus (sustainability & waste management).
      • ODF Plus: ODF village with solid/liquid waste management system.

Achievements of SBM

  • SBM Phase I:
    • Over 10 crore individual household toilets constructed.
    • Sanitation coverage increased from 39% (2014) to 100% (2019).
    • Around 6 lakh villages declared ODF.
    • Achieved SDG 6.2 (Sanitation and Hygiene) 11 years early.
  • SBM Phase II:
    • 75% villages achieved ODF Plus status.
    • States/UTs with 100% ODF Plus villages: Andaman & Nicobar Islands, D&N Haveli, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, J&K, Karnataka, Kerala, Ladakh, Puducherry, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Tripura.

Challenges in Implementing SBM

  • Behavioral Change:
    • Deep-rooted cultural attitudes towards cleanliness and sanitation are difficult to change.
    • Sustained education and awareness campaigns are needed.
  • Infrastructure Development:
    • Building adequate sanitation infrastructure (toilets, waste management) is challenging, especially in rural areas.
    • Investment and planning are needed for remote and disadvantaged regions.
  • Maintenance of Infrastructure:
    • Proper maintenance and usage of toilets over time is crucial.
    • Many toilets face issues due to lack of ownership or awareness.
  • Open Defecation:
    • Despite efforts, open defecation persists in some areas due to:
      • Lack of awareness.
      • Cultural practices.
      • Inadequate toilet facilities.
    • Community engagement and behavior change communication are needed.
  • Waste Management:
    • Proper solid and liquid waste management is essential but often inadequate.
    • Issues like littering and water source contamination arise due to poor waste collection, segregation, and disposal systems.
  • Funding and Resources:
    • While significant funds are allocated, ensuring effective utilization at the grassroots level remains a challenge.

Way Ahead

  • A multi-pronged approach is needed for SBM’s success:
    • Government intervention.
    • Active participation from communities, civil society organizations, and stakeholders.
  • Sustainable solutions addressing the root causes of sanitation and cleanliness issues are crucial.
  • Continuous monitoring and feedback mechanisms are essential for long-term success.

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