4800 villages in Gujarat declared Open Defecation Free

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Centre conducts Swachh Bharat Mission progress review

The Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Shri Parameswaran Iyer, went on a State visit to Gujarat today where he met the Chief Secretary and Principal Secretary (Sanitation), and discussed the progress being made by the State towards achieving open defecation free (ODF) status.

The State Principal Secretary, Sanitation, Ms Jayanti Ravi, apprised the Central team about various initiatives being taken by the State in this regard. The State has achieved a sanitation coverage of 73.75%, and 4800 villages in Gujarat have declared themselves as ODF. This has been achieved through a strong emphasis on behaviour change trainings, involvement of Self Help Groups and involving various Development partners like World Bank, UNICEF and Tata Trusts closely.

An exhibition showcasing various innovative IEC (Information-Education-Communication) / Interpersonal tools was organized by the State on the occasion. The State also made a presentation highlighting the State strategy. Inter Departmental convergence came up as an important tool being deployed. Special focus was given during the discussion to capacity building in community approaches. It was decided that 20 virtual classrooms will be set up in the State to further support this purpose. State presented detailed plan of identifying and training motivators up to the village level.

A meeting was also held with all the development partners, which included discussion on progress, support requirements and challenges on the field.

The Secretary later met with the Chief Secretary of Gujarat, Shri G. R. Aloria, and held a video conference with all District Development Officers (DDOs) of Gujarat. The districts expressed readiness of plan and effort to achieve Swachhta soon.

The Secretary concluded by emphasizing that Swachh Bharat is a programme of behavioural change and while we should do it in a campaign mode, we will have to keep a focus on quality and sustainability. The demand generation by the people themselves for toilets is a must for success of the programme. It was agreed that the State will put in place an independent concurrent evaluation system.