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12 crore toilets built in last nine years: Hardeep Puri

Published: Sep 15, 2023

By TIOLCorplaws News Service

NEW DELHI, SEP 15, 2023: SWACHH Bharat Mission is also a shining example of the philosophy of 'Antyodaya Se Sarvodaya'. It has prioritised the marginalised and vulnerable sections of our cities, and has striven to uplift and empower the urban poor, said Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of Housing & Urban Affairs and Petroleum & Natural Gas today. He was speaking at the launch of Swachhata Hi Seva - 2023.

As a prelude to Swachh Bharat Diwas, the annual Swachhata Hi Seva (SHS) fortnight is being jointly organised by Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban and Grameen between 15th Sept to 2nd Oct '23. The fortnight aims to mobilize the participation of crores of citizens across the country via various activities such as Indian Swachhata League 2.0, SafaiMitra Suraksha Shivir and mass cleanliness drives.

SHS-2023 was launched by Minister of Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Minister of Housing & Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri and Minister of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj Giriraj Singh in the presence of   Kaushal Kishore, Minister of State for Housing & Urban Affairs, Vini Mahajan, Secretary, Drinking Water and Sanitation Department and Sh. Manoj Joshi, Secretary Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs through a virtual programme.

During the event, senior officials from cities of Leh, Ladakh; Pimpri, Maharashtra; Meerut, Uttar Pradesh; Lakhimpur,    Assam shared best practices of Swachhata related activities in their respective cities.

A video on SHS- 2023 was launched during the event. In addition to this the event also witnessed launch of logo, website and portal of SHS- 2023. 'Indian Swachhata League (ISL) 2.0', 'Safaimitra Suraksha Shivir' Logos and 'Citizens' Portal' were also launched on this occasion.

Speaking about the SBM and launch of SHS 2023, Hardeep Singh Puri, said that the upcoming ninth anniversary of the Swachh Bharat Mission and the launch of 'Swachhata hi Seva' 2023 is a moment of celebration. It is a time to reaffirm ourselves to the cause of keeping our cities clean. With the launch of the Swachhata hi Seva fortnight, we re-dedicate ourselves to the cause of Swachhata, the Minister added.

Addressing the participants, Housing & Urban Affairs Minister Shi Hardeep Singh Puri said that  when the honourable Prime Minister announced the Swachh Bharat Mission from the ramparts of the Red Fort on 15 August 2014, such a large-scale transformation had never been imagined before. Despite a poor performance on sanitation till then, India achieved the target of ODF in the next five years. All 4,884 ULBs (100%) in India are now Open Defecation Free (ODF).

Talking about the transformation brought by SBM, Puri said that by building 73.62 lakh toilets (67. 1 lakh individual household toilets and 6.52 lakh community and public toilets), we have provided dignity and health to millions of urban poor. 95% wards in India have 100% door-to-door collection of waste. More than 88% of the wards have source segregation of waste. This was possible because the Swachh Bharat Mission evolved to become a 'Jan Andolan' instead of a typical sarkari programme, he added.

Hardeep Singh Puri emphasised that the Swachhata has become a foundational tenet in not just every government scheme but also in the way of life of citizens.

Drawing attention to the achievements of SBM so far, the Housing & Urban Minister said that 12 crore toilets have been built in last nine years, liberating the country from the scourge of open defecation. Our solid waste management, almost non-existent at the mission's inception, now stands at an impressive 76%, and soon, we will achieve 100%, he added.

He further informed that the urban component of the mission has now been extended till 2026 through the Swachh Bharat Mission - Urban 2.0 (SBM-U 2.0). It aims to make all our cities 'Garbage Free' and remediate legacy dumpsites. The  focus areas of SBM-U 2.0 encompass a range of aspects, including Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs), Waste-to-Energy plants (WtE plants), construction and demolition waste management, Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF) plants, scientific landfill sites, and the remediation of legacy waste.

In his concluding remarks, the Minister expressed hope that every city, village, ward, and neighbourhood pledges to contribute their shramdan (voluntary labour) to the cause of Swachhata. He urged the individuals to take a pledge to ensure that our cities are free from garbage, and complete Swachhata become a reality.

About 'Swachhata Hi Seva':

As a run up to Swachh Bharat Diwas on 2nd October, 2023, a day that the nation celebrates the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) and Dept. of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti are organizing the 'Swachhata Hi Seva' fortnight 15th September to 2nd October, 2023, in collaboration with other Ministries, to celebrate 9 years of Swachh Bharat Mission.

The backbone of the Mission has been jan andolan for swachhata. The theme for SHS 2023 is "Garbage Free India". Events planned as part of the fortnight will serve as a build up to Swachhata Diwas 2023 and reaffirm the commitment of all to make India clean and garbage free.

SHS-2023 will focus on achieving visibly higher order of cleanliness across local bodies through the spirit of voluntarism and shramdaan, as well as on the welfare of SafaiMitras. All Ministries and Depts. will be organizing swachhata drives across offices, public places of high footfall such as bus stands, railway stations, beaches, tourist spots, zoos, national parks and sanctuaries, historical monuments, heritage sites, river fronts, ghats, drains and nallahs in both rural and urban areas of the States/UTs.

The activities will include removal of garbage from all important spaces, clearing of legacy waste, repairing, painting, cleaning, and branding of all sanitation assets such as litter bins, public toilets, garbage points, waste transportation vehicles, and Material Recovery Facilities, saturating markets, public spaces, and tourist spots with SBM wall paintings and dustbins, organizing swachhata quizzes, plantation drives, swachhata pledges and swachhata runs etc.

Following are the key activities to be organized under SHS-2023:

1. Swachhata Hi Seva - Fortnight long Cleanliness Drives

Swachhata will reverberate in the air this fortnight as everyone will fight against garbage with massive cleaning drives & innovative and unique methods of awareness for 'twin bin' and source segregation. As a part of SHS 2023, all Government of India Ministries, PSUs, State Govts. and local bodies will be organizing massive cleanliness drives across various locations. The inter-sectoral activities will be cleaning of high footfall tourist spots/ pilgrim sites under Tourism Ministry, 'Har Pathri Saaf Suthari' cleanliness activities of railway platforms and adjacent areas by Railways, Dept of Higher Education & School Education will involve universities and school students for SHS activities, while MoPNG will organize cleanliness and awareness drives across petrol pumps etc.

2. Indian Swachhata League 2.0

The second edition of the first-of-its-kind 'India Swachhata League' is all set to take the nation by a storm. Led by the youth, the Season 2 of ISL promises to be even more exciting and fun-filled cleanliness league. More than 4,000 city teams are ready to win the battle against garbage on the 17 th of September through youth-led citizen teams. This year, city teams will rally to clean beaches, hills, and tourist places. ISL 2.0 will mobilize youth groups at scale to take sustained ownership for swachhata this fortnight. The swachhata league will act as a catalyst for youth action under Swachh Bharat Mission

3. SafaiMitra Suraksha Shivir

As we complete nine years of Swachh Bharat Mission- Urban and two years of SBM-U 2.0 and to pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, single window welfare camps in the form of SafaiMitra Suraksha Shivir will be organized by various cities across the nation from 17th September, 2023 onwards. These Shivirs are aimed at saturating welfare schemes for sanitation workers and their dependents and to improve their well-being and quality of life. The objective of the shivir is to target all sanitation workers in Solid Waste Management (SWM) & Used Water Management (UWM). The key activities will focus on mass awareness, preventive health checkups, yoga shivirs and extending entitlement of various welfare benefits of central & State Schemes in convergence with various ministries. This saturation approach for administering welfare schemes will help enhance the safety, well-being and provide social protection to sanitation workers.