Nearly eight years after the launch, Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen (SBM-G), the flagship programme of the Union government recorded another milestone -- of 1,01,462 villages declaring themselves as ODF (open defecation free) plus.
These villages are sustaining their ODF status and have systems in place for managing solid and/or liquid waste and they would continue on their sanitation journey as they work towards making their villages cleaner, greener and healthier.
Nearly eight years ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Mission from the ramparts of the Red Fort, with a vision to make the country ODF as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary.
According to the Jal Shakti Ministry, one lakh ODF plus villages is no small achievement, given that the process of solid and liquid waste management is technical in nature, relatively new to rural India and is a second-generation issue.
The Ministry added that a provision of toilets has led to the need to manage faecal waste. With portable water supply, more greywater is being generated that needs to be treated and reused; and with lifestyle changes and the use of packaged food products, the menace of plastic waste is rearing its ugly head in rural areas and that needs to be managed effectively.
"And this is what the second phase of the SBM-G is about -- to appropriately manage all types of waste that will not only make our villages clean, but also creating avenues for generating income for rural households and creating new livelihood opportunities, while fulfilling the requirements of the sustainable development goals," the Ministry said.