India will be made open-defecation free (ODF) on October 2, 2019, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Friday.
“I am happy and satisfied to report that India will be made Open Defecation Free on October 2nd, 2019, as per the dream of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Sitharaman said while presenting Union Budget 2019-20 in Lok Sabha.
Sitharaman also proposed to expand the Swachh Bharat mission to undertake sustainable solid waste management in every village, harnessing the latest technology.
“9.6 crore toilets have been constructed since October 2, 2014. More than 5.6 lakh villages have become open defecation free. We have to build on this success. I propose to expand the Swachh Bharat mission to undertake sustainable solid waste management in every village, harnessing the latest technology,” she said amid desk thumping by MPs of treasury benches.
The Economic Survey2018-19 which Sitharaman tabled in Parliament on Thursday outlined the progress made in the mission that was initiated in 2014 to achieve universal sanitation coverage by October 2, 2019.
The Swachh Bharat mission is one of the largest cleanliness drives in the world and is also an attempt to initiate behavioural change.
“Through SBM, 99.2 per cent of rural India has been covered in the last four years. Since October 2014, over 9.5 crore toilets have been built all over the country and 564,658 villages have been declared open-defecation free (ODF),” says the Survey.
As on 14 June 2019, 30 States and Union Territories are 100 per cent covered with an individual household latrine (IHHL). The SBM has significantly improved health outcomes,” the report says.
The mission has also helped reduce diarrhea and malaria among children below five years, stillbirth and low birth weight (newborn with weight less than 2.5 kgs).
“This effect is particularly, pronounced in districts where IIHL coverage was lower is 2015,” adds the Survey.