11 states are now open defecation free: Govt

The government today informed the Lok Sabha that till date 11 states and union territories (UTs) have been declared open defecation free (ODF) under Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), the Centre's flagship programme.

The government is taking various steps under the SBM to make all states in the country ODF, the minister of state in the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ramesh Chandappa Jigajinagi, said in a written reply.

"Till date, 11 states/UTs namely Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Gujarat, Chandigarh, Daman and Diu, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Meghalaya had been declared ODF", Jigajinagi said

Replying to a question on the steps taken by the Centre to make all states ODF, the minister said that special focus is being given on the behaviour change.

"Community based collective behaviour change had been mentioned as the preferred approach, although the states are free to choose the approach best suited to them. Focus is also on creation of complete ODF villages, rather than only on construction of individual toilets. This entails triggering the entire village in to changing their behaviour", he said.

The minister also said that the government is taking up various initiatives like training the select organisations in a said state, who in turn train sub-state personnel.

Replying to another question on the process through which a village is declared ODF, the government said that a comprehensive community led decision making process is taken for the declaration of ODF.

"In the first step, villages themselves declare ODF in the general meeting. Within 3 months of ODF declaration, State/UT conduct verification using different process. ODF sustainability verification, which primarily focuses on toilet usage is also conducted after a period of 270 days", his reply said.

The minister also informed the House that the ODF declared villages are also prioritised in providing piped water supply.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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