“Jahan Soch wahan Sauchalaya” has been doing rounds on various channels. This advertisement by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation featuring the Ooh La La girl Vidya Balan has definitely grabbed some eyeballs. In the series of advertisements Vidya Balan is seen educating people about personal hygiene and urging them to build toilets to prevent open defecation. As a part of the Swachch Bharat scheme, the government is urging the people especially those in the rural areas to build toilets and in some areas the government has even agreed to bear the costs of making one. But has this soch of Modi Sarkar been able to improve the Hygienics of India ? Does it have any impact good or bad ? Let’s find out.
One of the most ambitious plan of the government is to build toilets in schools through their Swachch Vidyalaya Scheme. The impact of the announcement was such that not only the government but many corporate companies have come forward to extend their support as a part of their Corporate Social Responsibility. We have seen the likes of NDTV running Greenathons to raise awareness about cleanliness, Reliance adopting schools and building toilets so that more and more girls don’t drop out. But has the Swachch Vidyalaya Scheme had any impact on the condition of the toilets in schools? Well the HRD Minister Smriti Irani feels so. The numbers look good on paper, but they are far from reality. Most of the schools in interior areas still don’t have toilets – let away separate toilets from boys and girls. And the schools that have the toilet don’t have proper water supply or drainage system in place. And that’s the main reason why many girls drop out from the school which has a cascading effect of the student performance because of poor attendance.
The aim of the scheme seems to be building toilets which has definitely been achieved at a great pace. Before August 15, 2015 as promised by Narendra Modi, separate toilets were to be built for girls and boys. 98% of the promised toilets have been completed and the scheme was a success. However was building the toilets the only motive ? Many toilets were completed at the last moment and weren’t in a condition to be used. Lack of water supply and poor drainage had a negative impact that prevented the students from using the toilets. For many using a toilet instead of defeciating in open is still a distant dream.It is the government’s responsibility to ensure that there are ‘functional‘ toilets rather that just building them. They should appoint teachers who would in turn work with the cleaners to ensure the toilets are clean and functional. If they are not, they could be fined as that’s the only way to keep the toilets functional.
Everyone has the Right to Sanitation and should have access to safe drinking water and sanitation to maintain good personal hygiene. And the best way to do is to build and ‘maintain’ toilets in schools kyunki ‘Swachh rahega India tab hi toh badhega India‘