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Swachh Bharat Mission

Updated on January 22, 2015


What, when, how and why?

As per the Census 2011, the urban population of India is 31% of the total population. Further, in the 4041 statutory towns of India, almost eight million households do not have access to toilets and defecate in the open. This habit is more pronounced among the womenfolk and the people constituting the marginal and sub-marginal population. Poor sanitation has significant health costs and the untreated sewage from cities is the single biggest source of water resource pollution in India. This indicates both the scale of the challenge ahead of the Indian cities and the huge costs incurred from not addressing them.

The Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) emerged from the vision of the Government, articulated in the address of The President of India in his address to the Joint Session of Parliament, dated 9th June 2014:

“We must not tolerate the indignity of homes without toilets and public spaces littered with garbage. For ensuring hygiene, waste management and sanitation across the nation, a “Swachh Bharat Mission” will be launched. This will be our tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary to be celebrated in the year 2019”

SBM is being implemented by the Ministry of Urban Development (M/o UD) and the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (M/o DWS) for urban and rural areas respectively.

The Swachh Bharat Mission is a national level campaign by the Government of India, covering the 4041 statutory towns to clean the streets, roads and infrastructure of the country. This campaign was officially launched on 2 October 2014 at Rajghat, New Delhi, where the Prime Minister of India, Sh. Narendra Modi, himself cleaned a road. The campaign is India's biggest ever cleanliness drive and 3 million government employees and school & college students of India participated in this event. Sh.Narendra Modi nominated nine famous personalities for this campaign, who then took up the challenge and nominated nine more people and so on (like the branching of a tree). It has been carried forward since then, with famous people from all walks of life joining it.

This campaign aims to accomplish the vision of 'Clean India' by 2 October 2019, 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi and is expected to cost over 62000 crore (US$9.7 billion). The fund sharing between the Central Government and the State Government/ Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) is 75%:25% (90%: 10% for North Eastern and special category states). The campaign was described as "beyond politics" and "inspired by patriotism".

The Urban Scenario: An Overview

v Objectives : The Swachh Bharat Mission, slated to be in force till October 2, 2015, has been launched with the following objectives:

  • Elimination of open defecation;
  • eradication of manual scavenging;
  • modern and scientific Municipal Solid Waste Management;
  • effecting behavioral change regarding healthy sanitation practices;
  • generation of awareness about sanitation and its linkage with public health;
  • capacity augmentation for ULB’s; and last but not the least,
    • creation of an enabling environment for private sector participation in Capex (capital expenditure) and Opex (operation and maintenance).

v Components: The following components have been defined as the constituents of the Mission, targeted at the population of all the statutory towns:

  • Household toilets, including conversion of insanitary latrines into pour-flush latrines

It is to be ensured that

  1. i. No households engage in the practice of open defecation,
  2. ii. no new insanitary toilets are constructed during the mission period, and

iii. pit latrines are converted to sanitary latrines.

  • Community toilets

These are to be a shared facility provided by, and for, a group of residents or an entire settlement. Community toilet blocks are used primarily in low-income and/or informal settlements / slums, where space and/or land are constraints in providing a household toilet. These are for a more or less fixed user group. It is estimated that about 20% of the urban households in cities, who are currently practicing open defecation are likely to use community toilets as a better alternative due to land and space constraints in constructing individual household latrines.

Community toilet blocks are to consist of a given number of toilet seats, as per requirements, toilet superstructure is to consist of the pan and water closet, and a substructure (either an on-site treatment system, or a connection to an underground sewerage/ septage system) shared by all the toilet seats and facilities for hand wash.

  • Public toilets

These are to be provided for the floating population / general public in places such as markets, train stations, tourist places, near office complexes, or other public areas where there is a considerable number of people passing by. It shall be the responsibility of the States and ULBs to ensure that a sufficient number of public toilets are constructed in each city. All prominent places within the city attracting floating population are to be covered. It is to be ensured that these facilities have adequate provision for men & women, as well as facilities for the disabled (e.g. ramp provision, Braille signage, etc.), wherever necessary.

  • Solid waste management

The Manual on Municipal Solid Waste Management, 2000, published by the M/o UD and revised from time-to-time, is to be referenced for DPR formulation and implementation.

In order to promote WTE projects, it is clarified that the Central government Grant / VGF is to be used for such projects, either upfront or as generation based incentive for power generated for a given period of time.

  • IEC & Public Awareness

Under the Mission guidelines, the states are to prepare an annual action plan, with details of State funding commitment, for Public Awareness & IEC, and the state level High Power Committee (HPC) is to approve it. At least 50% of the IEC fund in each annual plan, as approved by State HPC, is to go to the ULB’s for IEC activities at the grass root level.

The fund dedicated to state & ULB is not to be utilized for the purchase of vehicles, construction and maintenance of buildings, creation of posts and payment of salary, & purchase of furniture and fixtures.

  • Capacity building and Administrative & Office Expenses (A&OE)

States have been directed to propose extensive capacity building activities to be implemented in a mission-mode manner, to enable the progressive achievement of objectives of SBM (Urban) in a time-bound manner. These are to be specified in the comprehensive annual action plan prepared by each state, to be approved by the state level HPC after sharing and considering suggestions from MoUD. At least 50% of this fund, in each annual plan, as approved by State HPC, is mandated to go to the ULB’s for activities at the ULB level.

States are to be encouraged to use other available capacity building funds to incorporate/ harmonize with the capacity building activities of ULB’s.

States and ULBs are to identify relevant officials (senior level and field-level functionaries) for training, and to draw up a training calendar for them. It is to be the responsibility of the State Mission Director to ensure that identified officials undergo adequate training to ensure the success of SBM (Urban) in the state. Further, states are also to identify relevant officials / persons capable of communicating the training on sanitation under SBM (Urban) as “master trainers”, who can attend Central government training on SBM (Urban) and then organize subsequent training to diffuse the message of SBM (Urban) in the states.

v Outlay:

The cost of implementation of SBM (Urban), based on unit and per capita costs for its various components, has been estimated to be Rs. 62,009 Crore. The Government of India share as per approved funding pattern amounts to Rs. 14,623 Crore. In addition, a minimum additional amount equivalent to 25% of the Government of India funding, amounting to Rs. 4,874 Crore, is to be contributed by the States as State/ULB share. The balance funds are proposed to be generated through various other sources of fund which are, but not limited to:

  • Private sector participation,
  • additional resources from State Government/ULB,
  • beneficiary share,
  • user charges,
  • land leveraging,
  • innovative revenue streams,
  • Swachh Bharat Kosh,
  • Corporate Social Responsibility,
  • market borrowing, and
  • external assistance

v Mission Strategy :

The strategy to be followed includes a Comprehensive Sanitation Planning (City as well as State level plans), facilitating private sector participation, and capacity building. The pivotal strategy under SBM (Urban) is behavior change communication, to ensure that sanitation as an issue is mainstreamed with the general public at large, and should cover issues of open defecation, prevention of manual scavenging, propagation of good hygiene practices, proper use and maintenance of toilet facilities (household, community or otherwise), etc., and optimal consideration of its related health and environmental consequences.

All states are to undertake certain practices for special focus groups like manual scavengers, rag pickers, migrants & homeless in the urban areas, construction laborers, pensioners, girl children, pregnant women and lactating mothers. The State governments shall endeavor to accomplish the following:

  • All manual scavengers in urban areas are to be identified, insanitary toilets linked to their employment shall be upgraded to sanitary toilets, and the manual scavengers shall be adequately rehabilitated;
  • the rag pickers are to be given priority to upgrade their work conditions and shall be enumerated & integrated into the formal system of SWM in cities. This move shall emanate as an effort to streamline and formalize SWM systems by the ULBs;
  • it is to be ensured that all temporary accommodation facilities for migrants and the homeless in urban areas have adequate provision for toilets, either on the premises or linked to a public / community toilet;
  • access of construction labor in urban areas, to temporary toilets at all sites within the urban areas, buildings, parks and roads where construction/ maintenance work is taking place or where construction labor is temporarily housed, is to be mandated; and
  • priority is to be tendered pro-actively to cover households with special focus groups like pregnant and lactating women.

A Task well cut out

In summary, it is a very ambitious and onerous project, in which all the stakeholders’ diligent participation is essential from start to finish, to ensure complete success of the Mission, that will manifest itself in years to come and fulfill the dream of the Indian people.


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