The Government in January 2020 announced results of the first two-quarters of Swachh Survekshan (SS) League 2020.
Change in the focus of government policies and schemes: Despite emphasis on the design of policies and development schemes, Government policies and interventions may not ensure access to basic services to a large number of people. This may have happened due to lack of strong focus on effective implementation.
However, in the past five years, access to basic services like electricity, cooking fuel, toilets, houses, and bank accounts have hugely improved in rural India. This is because of the focus on the effective implementation of government policies and schemes. The government has taken the final delivery of services as the only measure of success of schemes and policies.
Lessons from effective implementation of Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM): The implementation of Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) has produced six important principles, which can ensure successful implementation of other schemes also. These principles are summarized as the ABCEDF of implementation.
A (Align): Align principles refer to coming together of people at different administrative positions within large government machinery, which involves chief ministers, 700 district collectors and 2,50,000 sarpanches. This will ensure that the policy successfully delivers the intended outcome. Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation as agency implementing SBM-Grameen successfully made sanitation priority of district collectors by directly engaging with them using workshops and WhatsApp groups. The implementing agency also ensured continuous engaged with the states.
B (Believe): The implementation of SBM involved young, experienced and motivated bureaucrats that believed the goal of eliminating open defecation by 2019 is achievable. Young, experienced and motivated people can ensure service delivery through creative solutions.
C (Communicate): SBM involved information, education and communication (IEC) activities in changing the mindset and behavior of people regarding sanitation. Under SBM, Swachagrahis (at least one in every village) were created. They were trained grassroots volunteers. They motivated people to change their behavior towards sanitation practices widespread in rural India. SBM also involved engagement with famous stars and sportspersons for spreading the message of sanitation. Consultancy firm Dalberg Advisors recently brought out a study titled as an assessment of the reach and value of IEC activities under Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen). According to the study, SBM related messages reached each rural Indian for 3,000 times during the past five years.
D (Democratise): One of the key objectives of SBM (G) was motivating communities and panchayati raj institutions for the adoption of sanitation practices that are sustainable. Over the years, SBM made everyone including individuals, communities, corporates, NGOs, civil society organizations and government ministries and departments and stakeholders, in making sanitation better.
E (Evaluate): SBM (G) involved monitoring units at all levels (national, state, and district). It also involved national-level monitoring and evaluation of outputs, progress and impacts by third-party independent agencies. Different world-level organisations such as World Bank, UNICEF, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and WHO also carried out assessments of sanitation.
F (Follow-through): After achieving ODF declaration by all states, government has announced that there will be follow-through and the work will be continued for sustaining the ODF behavior. Recently, the government launched 10 Year Rural Sanitation Strategy (2019-2029). It focuses on sustaining change in sanitation behavior achieved by SBM-G.
10 Year Rural Sanitation Strategy (2019-2029):
Along with learning from the effective implementation of Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), the government is continuing with change in focus on the implementation of government policies and schemes. On the basis of ABCDEF of implementation, the government is designing Jal Jeevan Mission to deliver on its goal of providing piped water supply to all households in India by 2024.