SWACH BHARAT ABHIYAAN
India as a country has been on a steady path of development, driven by its vast population & availability of resources. After liberalisation of its economy in 1991, the country has seen tremendous increase in per capita income & its markets as well as healthcare sector has seen a boom. Improvement in all these markers have meant that the life expectancy has also increased, which in turn has led to a steady increase in population. Our cities were not designed to meet the requirements of so large a population & are crumbling under the burden of pollution & garbage.Swach Bharat Abhiyaan is a country wide campaign initiated under the leadership of PM Shri Narendra Modi in 2014. It is a restructured version of Nirmal Bharat Abhiyaan launched in 2009 by Mr. Manmohan Singh that failed to achieve its intended targets. The aim of Swach Bharat Abhiyaan is to make the country open defecation free (ODF) & also have better solid waste management. Under this campaign cleanliness drives are undertaken in urban as well as rural areas & the key point of this campaign is to make citizen part of the programme.The first phase of Swach Bharat Mission was till 2019 & currently the 2nd phase is going on which is intended to last till 2024-25. During this period the government has provided subsidy for construction of 90 million toilets. The campaign was launched on the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi who himself had led many such drives.Although there have been attempts by previous governments to make India open defecation free & create awareness about environment & solid waste management, however majority to these projects failed due to the lack of the appeal & ability to reach at grassroot levels. What makes Swach Bharat Abhiyaan unique is its connect & appeal to citizens, to take charge & make their surroundings better. Also there have been numerous promotional campaigns intended to target urban as well as rural population & brand ambassadors have been appointed by the government. Swach Bharat Mission & The Indian Army in the Valley: Prior to the concept of Swachh Bharat Mission or even its predecessor Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan were even conceptualised, the Army has been maintaining its cantonments efficiently. The concept of ‘Shram Daan’ which is a voluntary contribution towards cleanliness of living, working spaces has been in the Army since ages. The Army can utilize this experience in the valley too. As the population in the valley is increasing so is the issue of solid waste management & garbage. With the contribution of local bodies & Army’s good will, campaigns can be launched in rural as well as urban areas in the valley, wherein both the Army as well as civil populace can take part in cleaning the surroundings as well as making people aware. This would go in a long way to maintain the scenic beauty of the landscapes as well as enhancing the connection between Army & civilian population. Also a Swachta sarvekshan is being done by the central government in the country wherein cleanest city is awarded with funds & title, can be adopted in the valley also & the villages or urban centers that are open defecation free can be rewarded.The success of any scheme depends on how efficiently it is executed on the ground. Swachh Bharat Mission, although launched with a good intent & a lot of fanfare has somehow failed to meet its desired targets, due to shoddy implementation at grass root levels. Thus being noted as world’s largest sanitation program, it has not completely eradicated open defecation. Also the SBM does not address the issues of existing sewerage systems and their inadequacies.To make the mission successful it is imperative to acknowledge the unique difficulties faced by our cities & urban countries & then create a roadmap for addressing them.