The many lessons from Swachh Bharat5 min read 22 Jan 2017, 11:54 PM IST
The lack of institutional capacity at the grassroots to deliver sanitation services is the key binding constraint to achieving Swachh Bharat
2016 has been a busy year for the country’s sanitation officials. According to government expenditure data, the centre had spent 89% of its annual budget by early January. Importantly, the goal post has shifted. The measure of success has moved from the mere construction of toilets to achieving “open defecation free" (ODF) status and village after village have been busy trying to meet this goal. Between April 2016 and January 2017, the total number of villages that had declared themselves ODF more than doubled from 49,599 in 2015-16 to 146,775. Two states, Kerala and Himachal Pradesh joined Sikkim to achieve the status of being ODF states. In 2015, not a single village in Kerala was ODF. By October 2016, the entire state had achieved this distinction. And to enable this, toilet construction activity increased significantly. The state reported construction of 165,898 toilets in the month of October alone.