NEW DELHI: After 599,000 villages, 699 districts and 35 states and union territories declared themselves open defecation-free (ODF) under the rural Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) [SBM(G)] as of October 2019, the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS) under the Ministry of Jal Shakti organised a one-day national workshop on ODF Plus – ODF Sustainability and Solid and Liquid Waste Management on 9 November in New Delhi. Secretaries in-charge of rural sanitation, Mission Directors and other key state level officials from 12 states attended the workshop.
Opening the workshop, Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary (DDWS), Ministry of Jal Shakti, shared that although progress had been made under the SBM(G) since the program’s inception in 2014, the work is not yet over. He added that it is key that all stakeholders continue their efforts to sustain safe sanitation and to ensure that no one is left behind. States were encouraged to take stock of their rural sanitation situation and lay focus on sustaining the gains made under the SBM(G), and ensuring general cleanliness in the villages with solid and liquid waste management (SLWM).
The Secretary also held bilateral meetings between the senior most officials representing the states along with officials from the Ministry, to discuss challenges and strategies on a state-by-state basis.
ODF Plus, SBM(G)’s latest component, consists of two main tracks: ODF Sustainability (ODF-S) and Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM). ODF-S includes sustaining behaviour change for safe sanitation, leaving no one behind and addressing gaps, ensuring community toilets for floating populations, and strengthening the capacity of all grassroots functionaries. As part of SLWM, the Mission is taking up biodegradable waste management, plastic waste management, grey water management, and fecal sludge management.
The workshop included presentations by the participating states on the their current status in rural sanitation and their plans going forward. Shri Arun Baroka, Additional Secretary (DDWS), Ministry of Jal Shakti, in his presentation made the overall case for the Department’s vision moving forward and reiterated that focus has to be maintained on the sustainability of outcomes gained thus far and on solid and liquid waste management.
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