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The study of the long run impact of the Clean India Movement or Swachh Bharat Abhiyan shows very little progress. This brings to our mind whether the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan- is a clean-up drive or a mess. The implementation of the scheme in the rural regions need to be studied. The construction of toilets as a part of the program and its proper usage indicates the success or failure. The three questions need to be debated upon which would throw light upon its success and failure.

  • The first important point is whether the program has been able to a moderate extent bring about a behavioral change with respect to people adopting a safe and hygiene methods of sanitation.
  • Secondly, has the program been able to successfully ingrain in the minds of the rural masses about the impending pains of poor sanitation and therefore imbibe it as a part of their cultural and social fabric.
  • Thirdly, has there been a follow up in proper usage of toilets or a proper research report been presented by the Govt. agencies.

Our study shows there has been a very little progress in the behavior of the masses with respect to adopting proper sanitation. The study carried out by ASHA has revealed the following;

Though some people have now toilets but they are not comfortable in using toilets.

They prefer to defecate in open due to lack of awareness and proper education. During rainy season or any emergency, they prefer to use toilets and the rest of the period they use toilets as their store room like storing grass or their livestock.  And they have the thinking that if they use the toilet throughout the year the lich pit will fill up within one and half years. After that who will build the toilet for them? And they are scared of manual scavenging and if they call the scavenger then he will charge 2500-3000 rupees. They are not that much capable bear the cost.

  • Due to financial constraints in the rural regions, people are unable to build toilets for themselves and more often they have to rely upon the village committee, village tauter or petty contractors. In order to get more profit, they use the lower quality of materials for building toilets.
  • If someone is however financially capable of building toilets for themselves, but getting a bill or his/her due amount i.e. Rs. 12000 from the govt. he has to grill himself for getting it through govt. procedure. In such a case he/ she left with only two options, either he/ she has to visit the department regularly and remind the govt. officials the same or he/ she has to bribe the govt. officials to get his/ her due amount through some agents. There are agents who take money from the beneficiary and make the bill.

Thanks to the Government of India’s demonetization initiative, we hope that it may break the chain of this Swachh Bharat nexus.

  • As per philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, “One burns something in so that it remains in one’s memory: only what does not cease to give pain remains in one’s memory”.

The same thing applies to sanitation until and unless people take ownership in the form of physical labor or monetary contributions or punishment for defecating in open, etc.  towards building toilets.

Otherwise, it will not make this program successful. Even if the GOI declares every state as Open defecation free after that you will find people defecating in open.

Finally, the CLTS (Community-Led Total Sanitation) program which is introduced in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan for behavioral change towards sanitation. It is not a universal method to combat sanitation crisis in India. Though it has a good track record of community mobilization, however, this is not properly implemented by the govt. officials and hence it brings to our mind an important subject of debate whether Swachh Bharat Abhiyan- is a clean-up drive or has it created a mess.