NEW DELHI:One of the main aims of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ is to put an end to the unhygienic process of open defecation, but it seems that not much work has been done in this regard in the last one year.
The Prime Minister is said to be miffed at the slow progress achieved in building toilets in many schools. To tackle the situation the government will be sending around 300 director rank officers from the Union government to do the reality check across the country.
At the behest of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the HRD Ministry has written to all the Central ministries and departments to depute officials from their respective ministry and department.
Called Observers for Swachh Vidyalaya Programme, the officials have been entrusted with the task of visiting each and every government school and submit reports on the status on the toilets in the school. They have given July 13 deadline to submit the detailed report on the matter.
In order to apprise the observers of their task, top officials from the HRD Ministry conducted a workshop for all selected officials here on Monday. They were given detailed charter of their duties while travelling to allotted districts, where they will be assisted by state government officials.
In his maiden speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the occasion of Independence Day last year, the Prime Minister had said, “…I want to make a beginning today itself… all schools in the country should have toilets with separate toilets for girls… This target should be finished within one year… and on the next August 15, we should be in a firm position to announce that there is no school in India without separate toilets for boys and girls.
According to Census 2011, half of the citizens -- over 600 million -- do not have access to a toilet either at home or in their communities. Subsequently, various private and public sector companies had come forward and committed to build toilets in every school.
The HRD Ministry had estimated the initial gap at 4.19 lakh toilets based on the Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE) data. An additional gap of 20,147 toilets was reported by a dozen states.
While 2.54 lakh toilets were to be constructed with government funds, PSUs committed to building 1.64 lakh toilets, the private corporates 5,134 toilets and money from the Swachh Bharat Kosh were to fund 15,852 toilets.
But on June 9 the Prime Minister reviewed the progress of the Swachh Vidyalaya Programme at a high-level meeting comprising top officials from the HRD Ministry, the Niti Aayog and the PMO.