10-year sanitation plan to focus on waste management

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi set to declare that India is completely open defecation free (ODF) on October 2, the Centre has launched a 10-year strategy to maintain these gains and shift focus to solid and liquid waste management in rural areas of the country.

“The first priority is to sustain the gains of ODF, to prevent slipbacks and continue behaviour change. It may be less glamorous, but it is essential,” said Drinking Water and Sanitation Secretary Parameswaran Iyer.

Among other things, this will entail reaching out to “left-behind” households who have not been covered under the ODF drive.

The issue came to the limelight again when two Dalit children in Madhya Pradesh were killed while defecating in the open earlier this week. Their family did not have a toilet despite having applied for one.

“That is a tragic case and I have spoken to the MP chief secretary about it. We have reiterated that coercivce action is unacceptable and that authorities should prosecute the guilty in such cases to the fullest extent of the law. We have also reiterated that those left behind must be covered. But this is a very small number. ODF is an ongoing journey,” said Mr. Iyer.

The ten year strategy framework presented by Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Friday also indicates that the Centre’s share of financing the ODF Plus programme will be lower than in the last five years.

“Public financing has played an important role in the ODF journey,” said Arun Baroka. “But for maintenance of toilets and infrastructure, the government will not be able to take care. With regard to waste management elements, there will have to be convergence of funds from the Centre, states, panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) and alternative financing, including credit and private funds.”

Mr. added that a note has been prepared for Cabinet approval, but said that discussions were still ongoing on the budget required and whether funds will be disbursed via a centrally sponsored scheme or through Finance Commission transfers to PRIs.

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Printable version | May 5, 2021 9:45:50 PM |

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