What is Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan

The Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan was initiated in the year 1999 by the then government. The Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan was also known as the Total Sanitation Campaign. The prime focus of the scheme was to improve the sanitation conditions in the rural regions of the county. The focus primarily was to give more momentum and to motivate the households of rural to construct better latrine provisions and to encourage them to use to prevent open defecation. The highlight of the Nirmal Bharat Yojana was that this was a program the focused on community led strategies that were demanded by the people themselves for a total sanitation drive to establish a safer and a cleaner environment. Not only households but village schools and communities and Anganwadi Centres also fall under the target of Nirmal Bharat Yojana. The focus of the scheme is not only on the creation of sanitary infrastructure but also to spread awareness among the people in improving their personal whereabouts in terms of hygiene and the proper disposal of waste material. The implementation of this program involves the association of the Panchayati Raj Institutions through various local social mobilizations.

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Why is Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan important to the Nation?

The Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan is paramount to the Nation as it stands to create awareness among the rural population of India for proper sanitation and waste disposal methods. There is an active ‘no’ to open defecation where there is a clean and a safe process of human waste management along with the incorporation of individual household latrines (IHHL) for both people classified as under Below Poverty Line (BPL) along with other identified households falling above poverty line (APL).  The proper controlling of wastes also includes various solid-liquid waste management (SLWM) in such a manner that the disposal is sustainable and does not cause the spillage of pollution on account of its vary process in other areas. The scheme also seeks to implement advanced hygiene facilities for all living in the rural areas where there is an active process of educating and safeguarding the people especially the women and children to promote a cleaner, greener and a safer space not only in their respective households but also in the community shared areas. Hence, apart from effectively tackling the physical problem of waste, there is also on improvement in the quality as well as awareness among the population of rural India that would directly help in the betterment of the Nation.

Objectives of Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan

The main objectives of the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan are as follows:

  • Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan aims to bring about an improvement in the general quality of life in the rural areas of the country.
  • Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan aims to accelerate sanitation coverage in rural areas to achieve the vision of Nirmal Bharat by 2022 with all gram Panchayats in the country attaining Nirmal status.
  • Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan aims to motivate communities and Panchayati Raj Institutions promoting sustainable sanitation facilities through awareness creation and health education.
  • Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan aims to cover the remaining schools not covered under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Anganwadi Centres in the rural areas with proper sanitation facilities and undertake proactive promotion of hygiene education and sanitary habits among students.
  • Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan aims to encourage cost effective and appropriate technologies for ecologically safe and sustainable sanitation.
  • Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan aims to develop community managed environmental sanitation systems focusing on solid & liquid waste management for overall cleanliness in the rural areas.

Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan scheme strategy

The focus of the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan lies on approaches that are ‘community led’, ‘people centered’ and ‘demand driven’. Fiving prior emphasis to these, the strategy strives to transform rural India into ‘Nirmal Bharat’. Here the actors are not only from the government but also the population of rural themselves. The program seeks to actively involve the people to improve their condition of the households, community shared spaces along with schools where they work together for a cleaner and safer environmental conditions. The demands of the community are to be met with mechanisms of alternative delivery. The provisions especially for the construction of latrines would not only be focused on the below poverty line houses but also to where there is a requirement for the collective improvement and the betterment of the community as a whole. Apart from the general cleanliness and proper waste disposal procedures, the program also focuses on the availability of water in the Gram Panchayats of the respective rural locales. The program seeks to involve the Panchayati Raj institutions along with various cooperative institutions, ASHA, Non-Governmental Organizations, Women groups, Anganwadi Workers and other Self Help Groups for achieving its objectives.

Also Read: Congress Scheme Renamed by BJP

Implementation and fund

The Union Budget of 2013-14 has an allocation of a total amount of Rs. 4260 crore exclusicely for Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan. Herein is also included the sum of Rs. 426 crore for the North-East region of India along with Sikkim for the year 2013-14. The Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan is directly dependent on the Gram Panchayat for its implementation. The proposal of the project thathighlights specific requirements of the targeted rural locales is given from the district to which the State Government consolidates it. This consolidated report is forwarded to the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation of the Central Government as a state plan. The initiation of the actions under the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan is to be accomplished not at a go but in phases that include various start-up activities. The program itself is flexible as the target households of a rural setting can choose their desired structures of latrines. The benefit is that it further allows for greater flexibility to the poorest of the poor the opportunity for the betterment of their housing infrastructure based on their financial capability. The Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan seeks to work in synergy with the participation of other organizations. Each Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan project would be implemented exclusively as a district project. The states and the Union Territories are expected to present the plans for their respective regions that would eventually be presented to the Central Government after the process of consolidating the plans by the State Governments are accomplished.

Benefits of Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan scheme

The benefits of the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan scheme are tremendous. Apart from the construction of latrines and the improvement of infrastructure to successfully tackle solid and liquid wastes, this scheme also aims to educate and inform the population of the rural population about sustainable and environment friendly living that would eventually improve the quality of the people, the households that they live in and the community in total. However, apart from these, there has been an award established for the different Panchayati Raj Institutions. The award is called the Nirmal Gram Puraskar and was initiated in the year 2005 under the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan. This award is presented to the different Panchayati Raj Institutions to honour their achievement of acquiring full sanitation in their respective areas where the villages have been open defecation free and environmentally clean. Such villages are classified as ‘Nirmal Gram’ villages where all the households, schools and Anganwadis have proper functioning latrines and are open defecation free along with the general awareness in the community with regards to the importance of maintaining both personal and community hygiene for an environmentally clean locality.

Also Read: The Jan Dhan Jumla

Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan repackaged as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan by the NDA

The Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan has been repackaged by the NDA government led by PM Modi as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and it happens to be one of their flagship schemes. Adding to the objectives of the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan seeks to clean up the streets, roads and infrastructure of India's cities and towns as well. Many critics of the Modi led government have mentioned that the new Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was nothing but the earlier existing Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan and that it was a simple name change to appropriate the success that the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan had garnered over the years. The critics have said that it is the same old feet in a new pair of shoes and that there has only been a name changing process where there are other such instances where the Congress' Skill Development Mission and the Congress’ Financial Inclusion have been rebranded as  BJP's Skill India scheme and BJP's Jan Dhan Yojana respectively. Another criticism to the change of name to Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan is that the name change was merely an excuse by the Modi led government to impose Swachh Bharat cess tax on the citizens of the country.

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