Uttarakhand and Haryana Declared Open Defecation Free States
Under the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G), rural Uttarakhand and rural Haryana have been declared as the 4th and 5th Open Defecation Free (ODF) States of India. Already, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala, have been declared ODF.
As per the government sources, nationally the sanitation coverage has increased from 42% to over 64% since the launch of SBM.
Uttarakhand has 13 districts, 95 blocks, 7256 gram panchayats and 15751 villages while Haryana has 21 districts, 124 blocks, and 6083 gram panchayats. All these have been declared as ODF.
With this, the total number of ODF states in the country have increased to 5 covering more than 2 lakh villages and 147 districts across the country.
The Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) was launched in October 2014 to achieve universal sanitation coverage and to put focus on sanitation.
The mission aims to achieve Swachh Bharat or make India clean by 2019, as a fitting tribute to the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
The SBM consists of two sub-missions Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin), implemented in rural areas, and Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban), implemented in urban areas.
SBM-G seeks to eliminate open defecation in rural areas by improving access to sanitation by ensuring the use of toilets, besides their construction.
It also seeks to generate awareness to motivate communities to adopt sustainable sanitation practices, and encourage the use of appropriate technologies for sanitation.
Open defecation is an important factor for causing various diseases like intestinal worm infections, diarrhoea, polio, hepatitis etc.