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No sweeping change — on Swachh Bharat Mission

Swachh Bharat Mission
The Swachh Bharat Mission needs a broader vision of what constitutes cleanliness
India’s Swachh Bharat Mission is receiving global praise(प्रशंसा/शाबाशी) for attempting to close the sanitation(स्वच्छता/स्वास्थ्य-रक्षा) gap of nearly 60% of the rural population not having access to a toilet at home in 2014. The NDA government invoked(अभिमंत्रित करना/विनती करना) Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of a clean and healthy country when it launched the ambitious(महत्त्वाकांक्षी) programme. On the eve of Independence, Gandhi saw the lack(कमी) of a “sense of national or social sanitation” as the root of all diseases(बीमारियां) among Indians. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a Swachh movement in 2014 to change that, and four years later the outcomes show that achieving(हासिल करना/प्राप्त करने) social change is far from easy. For the BJP-led government at the Centre, the SBM enjoys arguably(यकीनन) the highest priority(प्राथमिकता/प्रधानता), and a ₹16,400-crore fund was raised for it during 2015-17 when a special cess was in force. On Gandhi Jayanti this year, the SBM’s Gramin wing declared it has constructed 86.7 million Individual Household Latrines and raised sanitation access to 94% in rural areas; 5,07,369 villages are now ‘open defecation(शौच/मलत्याग) free’. On the face of it, this is big advance. But there is a need for a close audit of the outcomes. In some States, such as Rajasthan, independent verification shows that the social change that the SBM hopes to achieve remains elusive(बचाव करनेवाला/मायावी/टाल-मटोल वाला),and traditionally oppressed(दलित/उत्पीड़ित ) communities continue to manually remove filth from dry latrines used by the upper castes. There are reports of a similar situation prevailing(प्रचलित/विद्यमान) in some parts of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh too. What this shows is that the very evil that Gandhi wanted to see changed — of some castes condemned to do such work by others — persists.

Besides making sanitation a movement through the provision(प्रावधान/नियम) of well-designed toilets and behaviour change in rural India, the SBM should have a broader vision of what constitutes cleanliness. The Centre asserts(इस बात पर ज़ोर/दावा करना) that urban toilet coverage is now 87% of the target, and nearly three-fourths of the wards in the country have door-to-door collection of municipal waste, but the lived experience of the city-dweller(निवासी), especially in the bigger metros(महानगर), is different. Waste volumes continue to grow as economic growth spurs consumption(खपत/उपयोग). The laws on municipal solid waste, protection of water sources and pollution control are just not being enforced(बाध्य करना/लागू करना). The official machinery required to enforce legal provisions vigorously(ज़ोरों के साथ/उत्साह सहित), and the infrastructure to manage waste scientifically are inadequate(अपर्याप्त/नामुनासिब), making it unlikely that there will be significant public health outcomes flowing from high-profile cleaning campaigns. Without full commitment to these aspects(पहलुओं/आकृति) of development, there is little chance of meaningfully achieving the Sustainable Development Goals on water and sanitation anytime soon. Besides ending manual scavenging(सफाई कार्य), the Swachh Bharat Mission must ensure that the manual cleaning of septic tanks, which is killing so many workers each year, is stopped and that funds for rehabilitation( पुनर्वास) reach them.



Important Vocabulary

Synonyms: acclaim, accolade, applause, appreciation, approval
Antonyms: blame, censure, criticism, disapproval, neglect

2.Elusive(बचाव करनेवाला/मायावी)
Synonyms: ambiguous, fleeting, illusory, incomprehensible, puzzling
Antonyms: definite, honest, intelligible, stable, understandable

3.Oppressed(दलित/उत्पीड़ित ) 
Synonyms: abused, destitute, distressed, enslaved, exploited

4.Asserts(इस बात पर ज़ोर/दावा करना)
Synonyms: affirm, allege, argue, cite, claim
Antonyms: abandon, conceal, deny, desert, hide

5.Vigorously(ज़ोरों के साथ/उत्साह सहित),
Synonyms: actively, boldly, eagerly, earnestly, firmly

Synonyms: deficient, faulty, incompetent, incomplete, lacking
Antonyms: able, abundant, adequate, capable, complete




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