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Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM)

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 17/11/2023

Cleanliness is an essential aspect of keeping illnesses and diseases away. Unfortunately, despite the rising level of incomes and improved expectations, Indian cities are often found overflowing with garbage, plagued with poor roads and dirty pavements, and are extremely unhygienic, with people urinating and spitting everywhere.

There was plenty of evidence suggesting how unsafe sanitation practices cause diarrhoea outbreaks and several associated illnesses. Acknowledging the gravity of the issue, the Prime Minister of India, Mr Narendra Modi, launched the Swachh Bharat Mission at Rajpath in New Delhi on 2nd October 2014.

This pro-sanitation programme became the world’s largest toilet-building initiative. Let’s analyse the objectives and importance of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

What is the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Why is it Important?

In his inauguration speech of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan mission, our PM said, “A clean India would be the best tribute India could pay to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary in 2019.”

The primary aim of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, as it was launched across the length and the breadth of the country, was to have a ‘Clean India’ by 2nd October 2019.

One of the best advantages of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was that it represented a pivotal shift in India’s approach to cleanliness. It surpassed the typical definition of simply constructing toilets for improved sanitation but went beyond this to tackle the problems in a more holistic manner.

Swachh Bharat - Clean India mission acknowledges that sanitation challenges are beyond simply infrastructure limitations and it needs a more diverse outlook. Here’s how the Swachh Bharat mission purpose was important:

Promoting Behavioural Change

Primarily, Swachh Abhiyan encouraged people to adopt hygienic practices with its insistence on using toilets.

This action-based behavioural shift builds a healthier culture around cleanliness and hygiene, which is an important milestone in curbing the spread of illnesses and promoting public health.

Effective Waste Management

Proper waste management and disposal are critical for maintaining clean surroundings, thereby reducing the spread of diseases.

Swachh Bharat’s campaign undertook a proactive stance towards environmental sustainability by including effective waste management in its mission statement.

Raising Public Awareness

The importance of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is recognised because the nationwide campaign raised awareness about cleanliness and hygiene among citizens.

It educated people about the consequences of neglecting cleanliness and encouraged them to actively participate in the development of a hygienic environment.

A key element of the campaign messaging was, “People should neither litter nor let others litter.”

The above-mentioned advantages of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan show how the campaign was an effort to encourage a lasting improvement in the health and well-being of Indians.

The objectives of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan revolved primarily around creating a culture around sanitation that inspired people to take care of their surroundings and proactively participate in ensuring their cleanliness.

Now that we are aware of the Swachh Bharat mission’s purpose, let’s take a look at the impact of the campaign.

Impact of the Swachh Bharat Mission

The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan mission made significant strides in transforming the sanitation landscape in India. The campaign was an aspirational approach to tackle the longstanding issues concerning health and hygiene in the country.

Both urban and rural communities have benefitted from the widespread impact of the Swachh Abhiyan mission and there are certain key aspects where the change can be noticed:

Improved Sanitation

The sanitation coverage across the country has been significantly improved since the initiation of the Swachh Bharat, which is a notable achievement in improving the health of citizens.

It has been indicated that the mission led to the construction of more than 100 million toilets across India. This aim of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan reduced the prevalence of open defecation which is a primary contributor of waterborne diseases like cholera and diarrhoea. With the availability of hygienic sanitation facilities the risk of these ailments has been lowered.

Having access to toilets also imparts a sense of dignity to individuals. This privacy was of particular importance to women and girls who face safety concerns and discomfort while using open defecation sites.

Economic Impact

The focus of the Swachh Abhiyan initiative on improving hygiene also came with economic benefits. The campaign has a role to play in contributing to the overall economic growth and development of the country.

The most direct economic benefit was the reduction in healthcare costs. This is because cleaner environments and the availability of toilets curbed illnesses from spreading, which automatically translated to fewer medical bills for individuals, communities, as well as the government.

For rural areas, the workforce participation was heavily reliant on sanitation facilities. This particularly applied to the women in the workforce who formerly had to walk long distances to defecate in the open, which consumed time and energy. The availability of toilets saved time, which meant women could participate more actively in contributing to the family income.

Finally, the construction of toilets and other sanitation-related infrastructure generates employment opportunities.

Community Engagement

A prominent aspect of Swachh Bharat was community engagement, which played a pivotal role in the success of the campaign.

The involvement and active participation of local community members in advancing the objectives of the mission fostered a healthy culture around sanitation and further imbued its value within individuals.

A sense of ownership and responsibility was established among individuals as they strove to keep their surroundings hygienic.

How Can Individuals Contribute to the Swachh Bharat Mission?

Growing up, we frequently heard “cleanliness is next to godliness” and yet, these lessons were stifled in the confines of the classroom.

The Swachh Bharat initiative provides a renewed opportunity to adults and children alike to contribute towards a cleaner India. Here are some ways individuals could contribute to the mission:**

Using Toilets: Access to proper sanitation is not only essential for hygiene but is critical for human dignity. Those with access to toilets must use them to ensure their well-being along with the cleanliness of their surroundings.

Ensuring Proper Waste Disposal: Littering in public places not only pollutes our neighbourhood but is a serious health hazard. It also destroys the natural beauty of the city, so it is important to dispose of waste responsibly.

Maintaining Personal Hygiene: The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic instilled the value of maintaining personal hygiene. However, as the situation gradually normalised, individuals started to neglect hand hygiene and this can lead to illnesses. Therefore, it is important to ensure you keep yourself clean and keep diseases away.

Educating Others: The Clean Indian mission is a collaborative effort towards making India better, so it is important to educate your community and those within your social circle about the importance of hygiene.

Participating in Cleanliness Drives: You can actively contribute to a cleaner society by participating in cleanliness drives held in your city. You can even inspire members within your community to clean local parks, streets, and public spaces by organising cleanliness drives yourself.

Conserving Water: Water conservation is an important element in sanitation. You can reduce water wastage by fixing leaks and being mindful of water usage in your everyday routine.

In Conclusion

The Swachh Bharat - Clean India Abhiyan was an important milestone in improving sanitation practices across the nation. However, our journey towards a clean India is far from its goal.

Individuals must continue to maintain hygiene practices individually and within their communities to realise the dream of a clean and hygienic India.

Yet, while the Swachh Bharat initiative is a step in the right direction for comprehensively safeguarding your health, it is essential to invest in health insurance.

A health insurance plan is your financial companion and will cover medical expenses arising from illness or injury. Some medical insurance policies also cover preventive care such as vaccinations and regular check-ups; however, this needs to be checked before opting for coverage. With Tata AIG, you can compare health insurance policies online so you find a suitable cover for your specific insurance needs.

FAQS

What is the Swachh Abhiyan?

The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is a nationwide campaign launched by the Indian Government to address the healthcare and sanitation concerns in the country. The objective of this initiative was to ensure a cleaner India by October 2019 and improve awareness about sanitation among the citizens.

What are the key objectives of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan?

The primary objectives of the Swachh Bharat mission included:

Discouraging open defecation by constructing toilets nationwide.

Increasing awareness about hygiene and clean sanitation practices.

Ensuring proper waste disposal management.

Raising awareness about the importance of sanitation and hygiene.

How does the Swachh Abhiyan raise awareness about the importance of hygiene?

The awareness campaigns and various programmes associated with the ‘Clean India’ mission spread awareness about the importance of maintaining clean surroundings and educated the masses on hygienic sanitation practices.

A key element of the communication strategy was “People should neither litter nor let others litter” which evoked a sense of responsibility to those who joined with the cause and inspired others to follow in their footsteps.

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