Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Rural Development
07-October-2015 17:58 IST
Many States can achieve the Open-Defecation Free status well before the target of 2nd October 2019: Birender Singh

Union Minister for Rural Development and Drinking Water and Sanitation Shri Birender Singh today said that the pace of construction of toilets in rural India has gathered momentum and within one year of the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission, about 95 lakh toilets were constructed across the country against the target of 60 lakh toilets. He said, the States like West Bengal, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Maharashtra have taken the lead in construction of Individual Household Latrines and community toilets and these states may achieve the target of Open-Defecation Free status in 2017 or 2018, well before the target of 2nd October, 2019. The Minister was speaking here after launching the Coffee table book on Swachh Bharat organized by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. Swachh Bharat Mission was launched on October 2, 2014, as one of the largest national campaigns to make the country open defecation free in five years. Shri Singh said that the Government is committed to driving a pan-India mass movement towards improved sanitation and this is only possible through the collaborative efforts of the people of India. Changing age-old attitudes and mindsets towards open defecation is critical in attaining our Swachh Bharat goals, the Minister added.

Shri Singh also underlined that the participation of the citizen and ownership to the programme is the key to success. He informed that his Ministry has encouraged devolution of the responsibility of sanitation promotion, upgradation and management to Gram Panchayats by giving flexibility to the States. The Minister said that the government has encouraged small entrepreneurs to collaborate and support Gram Panchayats in strengthening the supply chain and they can set up sanitary marts, production centres to help people access sanitary wares and products near their homes. He said that there is immense scope for the private sector in technology development, research and development and operation and maintenance. The solid and liquid waste management component of the SBM provides scope for small and medium private sector institutions to engage in waste management and improvisation of village environmental management infrastructure. The Ministry has successfully involved para government functionaries, school teachers, Anganwadi workers, ASHAs etc. to promote sustainable sanitation in rural areas.

The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has partnered with BBC Media Action and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to honour rural sanitation champions across India with the launch of a coffee table book, “An Open Mind.” The book highlights the inspiring stories of these sanitation champions who have driven positive behaviour change in their communities and helped their villages achieve Open Defecation Free status.