Swatchh Bharat Mission (SBM), Swatchh Bharat Abhiyan, or Clean India Mission is a country-wide campaign initiated by the Government of India in 2014 to eliminate open defecation and improve solid waste management. It is a restructured version of the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan launched in 2009 that failed to achieve its intended targets.
Phase 1 of the Swatchh Bharat Mission lasted till October 2019.
Phase 2 is being implemented between 2020–21 and 2024–25 to help cement the work of Phase 1.
Initiated by the Government of India, the mission aimed to achieve an “open-defecation free” (ODF) India by 2 October 2019, the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi through construction of toilets. An estimated 89.9 million toilets were built in the period. The objectives of the first phase of the mission also included eradication of manual scavenging, generating awareness and bringing about a behavior change regarding sanitation practices, and augmentation of capacity at the local level.
The second phase of the mission aims to sustain the open defecation free status and improve the management of solid and liquid waste, while also working to improve the lives of sanitation workers. The mission is aimed at progressing towards target 6.2 of the Sustainable Development Goals Number 6 established by the United Nations in 2015.
The campaign’s official name is in Hindi. In English, it translates to “Clean India Mission”. The campaign was officially launched on 2 October 2014 at Rajghat, New Delhi by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is India’s largest cleanliness drive to date with three million government employees and students from all parts of India participating in 4,043 cities, towns, and rural communities.
At a rally in Champaran, the Prime minister called the campaign Satyagrah se Swatchhagrah in reference to Gandhi’s Champaran Satyagraha launched on 10 April 1916.
The mission was split into two: rural and urban. In rural areas “SBM – Gramin” was financed and monitored through the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (since converted to the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation under the Ministry of Jal Shakti; whereas “SBM – urban” was overseen by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
As part of the campaign, volunteers, known as Swatchhagrahis, or “Ambassadors of cleanliness”, promoted the construction of toilets using a popular method called Community-Led Total Sanitation at the village level. Other activities included national real-time monitoring and updates from non-governmental organizations such as The Ugly Indian, Waste Warriors, and SWACH Pune (Solid Waste Collection and Handling).
The government provided subsidy for construction of nearly 90 million toilets between 2014 and 2019, although some Indians especially in rural areas choose to not use them. The campaign was criticized for using coercive approaches to force people to use toilets. Some people were stopped from defecating in open and threatened with withdrawal from government benefits. The campaign was financed by the Government of India and state governments. The former released $5.8 billion (Rs 40,700 crore) funds for toilet construction 700,000 villages. The total budget for the rural and urban components was estimated at $28 billion, 93 per cent for construction and the rest for behaviour change campaigns and administration.
The Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) comes under the purview of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. The areas of focus include:
- Wastewater Treatment
- Construction of proper toilets
- Solid Waste Management
- Information and Education Communication (IEC) and Public Awareness
- Capacity Building
The targeted achievements include:
- ODF+ certification to all statutory towns. ODF Certification refers to Open Defecation Free Certification.
- Statutory towns with less than 1 lakh population ODF++ certification.
- Water+ certification for 50% of statutory towns with less than 1 lakh population.
- Rating of 3 star Garbage Free as per the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs Star Rating Protocol for Garbage Free cities for all the statutory towns.
- Bioremediation of all legacy dumpsites.