(This blog first appeared on the PRS blog website on 02/01/2015 and has been modified for the purposes of this entry)
In the recent months, guidelines for the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) were released by India's Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. Key features of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin), as outlined in the guidelines, are detailed below. In addition, a brief overview of sanitation levels in the country is provided, along with major schemes of the central government to improve rural sanitation.
The Swachh Bharat Mission, launched in October 2014, consists of two sub-missions – the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) (SBM-G), which will be implemented in rural areas, and the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban), which will be implemented in urban areas. SBM-G seeks to eliminate open defecation in rural areas by 2019 through improving access to sanitation. It also seeks to generate awareness to motivate communities to adopt sustainable sanitation practices, and encourage the use of appropriate technologies for sanitation.
Data from the last three Census, in Table 1, shows that while there has been some improvement in the number of households with toilets; this number remains low in the country, especially in rural areas.
Table 1: Percentage of households with toilets (national)
In addition, there is significant variation across states in terms of availability of household toilets in rural areas, as shown in Table 2. Table 2 also shows the change in percentage of rural households with toilets from 2001 to 2011. It is evident that the pace of this change has varied across states over the decade.
Table 2: Percentage of rural households with toilets
Jammu and Kashmir
II. Major schemes of the central government to improve rural sanitation
The central government has been implementing schemes to improve access to sanitation in rural areas from the 1st Five Year Plan (1951-56) onwards. Major schemes of the central government dealing with rural sanitation are outlined below.
Central Rural Sanitation Programme (1986): The Central Rural Sanitation Programmewas one of the first schemes of the central government which focussed solely on rural sanitation. The programme sought to construct household toilets, construct sanitary complexes for women, establish sanitary marts, and ensure solid and liquid waste management.
Total Sanitation Campaign (1999): The Total Sanitation Campaign was launched in 1999 with a greater focus on Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activities in order to make the creation of sanitation facilities demand driven rather than supply driven. Key components of the Total Sanitation Campaign included: (i) financial assistance to rural families below the poverty line for the construction of household toilets, (ii) construction of community sanitary complexes, (iii) construction of toilets in government schools and aganwadis, (iv) funds for IEC activities, (v) assistance to rural sanitary marts, and (vi) solid and liquid waste management.
Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (2012): In 2012, the Total Sanitation Campaign was replaced by theNirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA), which also focused on the previous elements. According to the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, the key shifts in NBA were: (i) a greater focus on coverage for the whole community instead of a focus on individual houses, (ii) the inclusion of certain households which were above the poverty line, and (iii) more funds for IEC activities, with 15% of funds at the district level earmarked for IEC.
Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) (2014): Earlier this year, in October, NBA was replaced by Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) (SBM-G) which is a sub-mission under Swachh Bharat Mission. SBM-G also includes the key components of the earlier sanitation schemes such as the funding for the construction of individual household toilets, construction of community sanitary complexes, waste management, and IEC. Key features of SBM-G, and major departures from earlier sanitation schemes, are outlined in the next section.
III. Guidelines for Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin)
The guidelines for SBM-G, released earlier this month, outline the strategy to be adopted for its implementation, funding, and monitoring.
Objectives: Key objectives of SBM-G include: (i) improving the quality of life in rural areas through promoting cleanliness and eliminating open defecation by 2019, (ii) motivating communities and panchayati raj institutions to adopt sustainable sanitation practices, (iii) encouraging appropriate technologies for sustainable sanitation, and (iv) developing community managed solid and liquid waste management systems.
Institutional framework: While NBA had a four tier implementation mechanism at the state, district, village, and block level, an additional tier has been added for SBM-G, at the national level. Thus, the implementation mechanisms at the five levels will consist of: (i) National Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin), (ii) State Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin), (iii) District Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin), (iv) Block Programme Management Unit, and (v) Gram Panchayat/Village and Water Sanitation Committee. At the Gram Panchayat level, Swachhta Doots may be hired to assist with activities such as identification of beneficiaries, IEC, and maintenance of records.
Planning: As was done under NBA, each state must prepare an Annual State Implementation Plan. Gram Panchayats must prepare implementation plans, which will be consolidated into Block Implementation Plans. These Block Implementation Plans will further be consolidated into District Implementation Plans. Finally, District Implementation Plans will be consolidated in a State Implementation Plan by the State Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin).
A Plan Approval Committee in Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation will review the State Implementation Plans. The final State Implementation Plan will be prepared by states based on the allocation of funds, and then approved by National Scheme Sanctioning Committee of the Ministry.
Funding: Funding for SBM-G will be through budgetary allocations of the central and state governments, the Swachh Bharat Kosh, and multilateral agencies. The Swachh Bharat Kosh has been established to collect funds from non-governmental sources. Table 3, below, details the fund sharing pattern for SBM-G between the central and state government, as provided for in the SBM-G guidelines.
Table 3: Funding for SBM-G across components
Amount as a % of SBM-G outlay
IEC, start-up activities, etc
Up to 5%
Construction of household toilets
75%(Rs 9000)90% for J&K, NE states, special category states
25%(Rs 3000)10% for J&K, NE states, special category states
Amount required for full coverage
Community sanitary complexes
Amount required for full coverage
Solid/Liquid Waste Management
Amount required within limits permitted
Up to 2% of the project cost
One of the changes from NBA, in terms of funding, is that funds for IEC will be up to 8% of the total outlay under SBM-G, as opposed to up to 15% (calculated at the district level) under NBA. Secondly, the amount provided for the construction of household toilets has increased from Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000. Thirdly, while earlier funding for household toilets was partly through NBA and partly though the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), the provision for MGNREGS funding has been done away with under SBM-G. This implies that the central government’s share will be met entirely through SBM-G.
Implementation: The key components of the implementation of SBM-G will include: (i) start up activities including preparation of state plans, (ii) IEC activities, (iii) capacity building of functionaries, (iv) construction of household toilets, (v) construction of community sanitary complexes, (vi) a revolving fund at the district level to assist Self Help Groups and others in providing cheap finance to their members (vii) funds for rural sanitary marts, where materials for the construction of toilets, etc., may be purchased, and (viii) funds for solid and liquid waste management.
Under SBM-G, construction of toilets in government schools and aganwadis will be done by the Ministry of Human Resource Development and Ministry of Women and Child Development, respectively. Previously, the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation was responsible for this.
Monitoring: Swachh Bharat Missions (Gramin) at the national, state, and district levels will each have monitoring units. Annual monitoring will be done at the national level by third party independent agencies. In addition, concurrent monitoring will be done, ideally at the community level, through the use of Information and Communications Technology.