Swachh Bharat Mission has been one of the key missions of Narendra Modi-led government since its launch in 2014. It aims to make India Open defecation free by October 2019
States have been asked to initiate their versions of National Annual Rural Sanitation Survey (NARSS) — a survey which tracks the access and usage of toilets — to ensure sustainability of Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), said a top government official.
SBM has been one of the key missions of Narendra Modi-led government since its launch in 2014. It aims to make India Open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019.
Nearly 93.1 per cent of rural Indian households have access to toilets and 96.5 per cent of these toilets are in constant usage, according to the findings of second edition of NARSS in 2018-19.
The NARSS is a third-party survey that is conducted by the Independent Verification Agency (IVA) under the World Bank support project.
“Monitoring of behaviour change is being instituted nationwide as SARSS (State Annual Rural Sanitation Survey) in SBM 2.0, so that independent verification of results and claims is being institutionalised,” said Anand Shekhar, team lead, programme management consultancies, Swachh Bharat Mission-Grameen, Jal Shakti Ministry.
He was speaking on the sidelines of the release of a study on behavioural interventions in promoting toilet use on August 9, 2019. It examined the use of behavioural science for improving toilet use in Bihar, Odisha, Karnataka, and Gujarat between 2017 and 2019.
SBM was initially based on a survey that the Centre had conducted in 2012. “Since then, houses have increased, new have come up and some have bifurcated. So, by no means the story of supporting households under SBM is over or will be over,” Shekhar said.
SBM 2.0 will now be focussed on sustaining ODF, Shekhar said.
“Having invested such huge public money in sanitation, no government would like to see it fail. So, we are investing funds for behaviour change through IEC (Information, Education and Communication) exercise, training masons to promote retrofitting of toilets and panchayat pradhans in what needs to be done to sustain ODF status.
However, experts raised questions on the government’s IEC exercise in helping to bring behavioural change among sustained toilet use.
The government should make a paradigm shift from IEC to BCC (behaviour change communication) approach, which stems out of disciplinary science, said Ruhi Saith from Oxford Policy Management.
While IEC collects information the use of toilets, BCC talks about underlying factors of why they are not using the toilets and tries to address them through behavioural science.
“BCC and IEC would both address barriers, but the difference is that behaviour change approach focuses on how to put the message across and make environment more conducive for people to access and use toilets,” Saith said.
Meanwhile, Shekhar highlighted the ministry’s four pillars for ODF sustainability in SBM 2.0 as:
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.