- The ministry of housing and urban affairs is looking to finalise the draft of the second phase of Swachh Bharat Mission which may have increased focus on managing solid waste and sludge
- Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri said the mission was constantly evolving
NEW DELHI: The Union government is working on a second phase of their flagship Swachh Bharat Mission. The first phase of the mission, which was to end in March 2020, has been extended till 2021. While the ministry of housing and urban affairs is looking to finalise the draft of the second phase it could have increased focus on waste management including solid waste and sludge.
The Swachh Bharat Mission was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 to make the country garbage and open defecation free. According to the government, since the launch of the scheme 62.09 lakh individual household toilets, 5.94 lakh community toilets have been constructed and 99% of the cities have been declared open defecation (ODF).
Hardeep Singh Puri, minister for housing and urban affairs said the mission was constantly evolving and various parameters including tackling the use of single-use plastic have been added to the scheme.
“The Swachh Bharat Mission is dynamic and constantly evolving. The start objective was to build toilets and we have met that target. India has been made open defecation free with the exception of one state. We have gone into ODF ++. There has also been an increased focus on reducing use of single use plastic. We have morphed into the next level,” Puri said.
“We are on the path to the next level of Swachh Bharat. We are actively engaging with it and will launch a new version before the end of the current phase of the mission. The idea is to expand targets further. We have almost reached a 100% ODF status. We have also reached a ODF+ level in over 1300 cities. We have also set a new protocol level of water plus, which is the highest level,” Durga Shanker Mishra, secretary of the ministry of housing and urban affairs said.
“In the next phase, the goal will be to go beyond making cities open defecation free. We will also include parameters for sludge management and for zero dumping of waste in the open,” he added.