UPSC Mains 2019: Innovating for sanitation


Topic: Innovating for sanitation

Topic in Syllabus: GS Paper 1 – Indian Society




November 19 was World Toilet Day and for two days this week, Mumbai saw sanitation take centre stage at the World Toilet Summit, 2018.


World Toilet Summit 2018:

  • World Toilet Summit 2018 will lay special focus on the evolution and journey of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and envisions itself as being a pioneer in motivating the successful completion of the mission by reaching 100% WASH coverage in households and schools in India.
  • Furthermore, the mission can only sustain when we also incorporate solutions for behaviour change, maintenance and sustenance of toilet usage and promoting innovations in WASH, along with solutions for faecal sludge management.
  • Increase in toilets leads toa healthier and cleaner environment. Hence, we need to promote sustainable and viable solutions for the efficient management of toilets.
  • The two-day summit will commence on 19 November, 2018 in Mumbai, on the occasion of World Toilet Day.
  • The summit is being officially supported by the government of Maharashtra, and will consist of keynote address, panel discussions, as well as awards in different categories from WASH sector.
  • Each year, World Toilet Summit follows a specific theme and this year’s theme is “When Nature Calls”. Through this theme, the summit strives to advocate the fact that often the solutions to all WASH problemslie around us in nature itself.


Key Agenda:

The World Toilet Summit will close the gap between government, corporate and civil society by creating multi-sector partnerships to accelerate collaborations for progress in WASH. The summit will be linked to the Swachh Bharat, SwachhVidyalaya, and Dettol Banega Swachh India. Through World Toilet Summit in India, aim to achieve the following key objectives:

  • Beyond the Swachh Bharat Mission: From toilet coverage to toilet usage
  • Sustainability of the open defecation free status in Maharashtra: Toilet maintenance, behaviour change, design and funding innovation
  • Reaching 100% WASH coverage in schools and 100% safely managed sanitation at the household level
  • Alleviating WASH challenges: The role of design and innovation.


More about on news:

  • With the increased hope that technology will help developing countries cope with their sanitation crisis, the Mumbai summit saw several companies showcase their best technologies, some that were affordable for the masses and could be operated with the least amount of water and energy.
  • Japanese multinational LIXIL, one of the organisers of the summit, focussed on its patented innovation, SATO. These are pan and stool toilets designed specifically for rural areas and can be installed easily with minimum investment.
  • the SATO toilets are suitable for use with direct and offset pit installations, septic tanks, sewer connections, and other water-based containment systems.
  • In India, SATO is encouraging the installation of its V-trap Connection System. Here, the toilet pan is connected to two pits where the waste gets collected and with a switching system between the pans, it has a long lifetime.
  • LIXIL also has another model for water-strapped areas. This is equipped with low-floor trapdoors, which open by the weight of the waste itself and can be rinsed with just 200 ml of water.
  • At the Summit, urban sustainable designs also drew interest. The Roca Group’s flush-free urinal does not require water or electricity to be used. It employs a cartridge that emits lemon-scented air and prevents unpleasant odours. The cartridge is replaced after every 6,000 cycles.
  • For India, where almost 60 per cent of the population lacks access to sanitation, new designs and innovations could well become viable options.



  • Sanitation is intrinsically linked to health.
  • It is thus important to formulate and implement concrete plans in Wastewater and Faecal Sludge Management.
  • Sanitation means measures necessary for improving and protecting health and wellbeing of the people. Sanitation is any system that promotes proper disposal of human and animal wastes, proper use of toilet and avoiding open space defecation.
  • Hygiene is the practice of keeping oneself and the surroundings clean, especially to avoid illness or the spread of preventable diseases.


Swachh Bharat Mission:

  • Swachh Bharat Mission is a massive mass movement that seeks to create a Clean India by 2019.
  • The father of our nation Mr. Mahatma Gandhi always puts the emphasis on swachhta as swachhta leads to healthy and prosperous life.
  • The Indian government has decided to launch the swachh bharat mission on October 2, 2014.
  • The mission will cover all rural and urban areas.
  • The urban component of the mission will be implemented by the Ministry of Urban Development, and the rural component by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.



The Swachh Bharat Mission has the following objectives: 

  • Elimination of open defecation
  • Eradication of Manual Scavenging
  • Modern and Scientific Municipal Solid Waste Management
  • To effect behavioural change regarding healthy sanitation practices
  • Generate awareness about sanitation and its linkage with public health
  • Capacity Augmentation for Urban Local Bodies (ULB’s)
  • To create an enabling environment for private sector participation in Capex (capital expenditure) and Opex (operation and maintenance).

Swachh Bharat Mission Objectives



  • The Government of India adopted a demand driven approach by the name Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) in 1999, which was later renamed as the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA). A financial subsidy was provided to households for constructing latrines.
  • To give a boost to the TSC, the government also launched the Nirmal Gram Puraskar (NGP), an incentive program that sought to recognize the achievements and efforts of Panchayati Raj Institution (PRIs) in encouraging full sanitation coverage in their Gram Panchayats.
  • Covering all households  with  IHHLs  (Individual  Household  Latrine),  cluster  toilets, community toilets, the prime minister has given his approval for restructuring of the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan into Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin).
  • Many people in India recognize open defecation as  a national embarrassment, but  if one accounts for the loss that it inflicts on the health and future productivity of India’s children, it’s clear that the sanitation crisis is truly an emergency.
  • The Census 2011 of India shows that 4,041 statutory towns (administrative units that have been defined by ‘statute’ as urban such as municipal corporations, municipalities, cantonment boards, notified  town  area  committees,  town  panchayats  or  nagar  palikas)  having  eight million households do not have access to toilets and defecate in the open.
  • Weak sanitation has significant health concerns and untreated sewage from towns is the biggest source of water pollution in India. This indicates both the scale of the challenge ahead of the Indian towns and the huge costs incurred from not addressing them.



The Swachh Bharat Mission has the following components: 

  • Household toilets, including conversion of insanitary latrines into pour-flush latrines
  • Community toilets
  • Public toilets
  • Solid waste management
  • IEC & Public Awareness
  • Capacity building and Administrative & Office Expenses (A & OE)


By Public Toilets: it is implied that these  are to be provided for the floating  population / general public in places such as markets, train stations, tourist places, near office complexes, or other public areas where there are considerable number of people passing by. 


By Community toilets: it is implied that a shared facility provided by and for a group of residents or an entire settlement. Community toilet blocks are used primarily in low-income and/or informal settlements / slums, where space and/or land are constraints in providing a household toilet. These are for a more or less fixed user group.


Important Provisions:

  • NBA will be restructured into the Swachh Bharat Mission with two sub-Missions – Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) and Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban). Budgetary provisions for the two sub-Missions will be provided separately in the demand for Grant of the Ministries of Drinking Water and Sanitation (for Gramin) and Ministry of Urban Development (for Urban). The Mission will be kick-started on 2nd October 2014.
  • Enhance the Unit cost of the Individual Household Latrine (IHHL) from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 12,000 so as to provide for water availability, including for storing, hand-washing and cleaning of toilets.
  • Central share for IHHLs to be Rs. 9,000 (75 percent) from Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin). The State share to be Rs. 3,000 (25 percent). For North Eastern States, Jammu and Kashmir and Special category States, the Central share will be 10,800 and the State share Rs. 1,200 (90 percent:10 percent). Additional contributions from other sources will be permitted.
  • Provision to be included in the Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) for provision of functional toilets. Till such provision is made, existing arrangement of funding will be continued from the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin).
  • Provision for Information, Education and Communication (IEC) will be at 8 percent of total project cost, with 3 percent to be utilised at the Central level and 5 percent at State level.
  • Provision for Administrative Cost will be 2 percent of the project cost. Sharing pattern will be 75:25 between Centre and State.
  • Discontinue the part funding from MGNREGA for the payment of incentives for the construction of IHHLs and pay the entire amount of Government of India share from the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin).
  • Transfer of the responsibility of construction of all School toilets to the Department of School Education and Literacy and of Anganwadi toilets to the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
  • The strategy of implementation of the Sanitation Programme will focus on behaviour change, triggering of the population with regard to toilet construction, and their use.
  • Monitoring mechanism will be strengthened. Outputs (construction) and outcomes (usage) will be monitored. There should be comprehensive re-appraisal of the programme at end of the 12th Plan.
  • States shall prepare an implementation strategy (Annual Implementation Plan) in consultation with the Mission. States performing as per their Plans will be incentivized. States achieving their targets prior to scheduled dates shall be further incentivized.


Swachh Bharat Mission for Urban Areas:

  • The programme includes elimination of open defecation, conversion of unsanitary toilets to pour flush toilets, eradication of manual scavenging, municipal solid waste management and bringing about a behavioural change in people regarding healthy sanitation practices.
  • The mission aims to cover 1.04 crore households, provide 2.5 lakh community toilets, 2.6 lakh public toilets, and a solid waste management facility in each town. Under the programme, community toilets will be built in residential areas where it is difficult to construct individual household toilets.
  • Public toilets will also be constructed in designated locations such as tourist places, markets, bus stations, railway stations, etc.
  • The programme will be implemented over a five-year period in 4,401 towns.
  • The total assistance available for construction of an individual toilet is Rs 4000/- from the Central Government and an amount of Rs 1333/- at least from the State Government.
  • In the case of the North East States, the states are required to contribute only Rs 400/- per individual toilet.
  • There is no bar on releasing any extra funds at any stage by the ULB/State Government through additional resources.
  • The expected assistance for construction of community toilets – Central Government will contribute upto 40% of the cost of construction of community toilet as a VGF/ outright grant.
  • As per SBM guidelines, the States/UTs shall provide an additional 13.33% for the said component.
  • The NE and special category states shall be required to contribute 4% only. The balance shall have to be arranged through innovative mechanisms by the urban local body. The approximate cost per seat for a community toilet is Rs 65,000/-.


Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin)

  • The Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan has been restructured into the Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin).
  • The mission aims to make India an open defecation free country in Five Years.
  • It seeks to improve the levels of cleanliness in rural areas through Solid and Liquid Waste Management activities and making Gram Panchayats Open Defecation Free (ODF), clean and sanitised.
  • Under the mission, One lakh thirty four thousand crore rupees will be spent for construction of about 11 crore 11 lakh toilets in the country.
  • Technology will be used on a large scale to convert waste into wealth in rural India in the forms of bio-fertilizer and different forms of energy.
  • The mission is to be executed on war footing with the involvement of every gram panchayat, panchayat samiti and Zila Parishad in the country, besides roping in large sections of rural population and school teachers and students in this endeavor.
  • Incentive as provided under the Mission for the construction of Individual Household Latrines (IHHL) shall be available for all Below Poverty Line (BPL) Households and Above Poverty Line (APL) households restricted to SCs/STs, small and marginal farmers, landless labourers with homestead, physically handicapped and women headed households.
  • The Incentive amount provided under SBM (G) to Below Poverty Line (BPL) /identified APLs households shall be up to Rs.12,000 for construction of one unit of IHHL and provide for water availability, including for storing for hand-washing and cleaning of the toilet.


Other initiatives:

Swachh Vidyalaya Abhiyan

  • The Ministry of Human Resource Development has launched Swachh Vidyalaya Programme under Swachh Bharat Mission with an objective to provide separate toilets for boys and girls in all government schools within one year.
  • The programme aims at ensuring that every school in the country must have a set of essential interventions that relate to both technical and human development aspects of a good Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Programme.
  • The Ministry financially supports States/Union Territories inter alia to provide toilets for girls and boys in schools under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA)

Rashtriya Swachhata Kosh:

  • The Swachh Bharat Kosh (SBK) has been set up to facilitate and channelize individual philanthropic contributions and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds to achieve the objective of Clean India (Swachh Bharat) by the year 2019
  • The Kosh will be used to achieve the objective of improving cleanliness levels in rural and urban areas, including in schools.
  • The allocation from the Kosh will be used to supplement and complement departmental resources for such activities.
  • To incentivise contributions from individuals and corporate, modalities are being considered to provide tax rebates where it is possible. For the complete operational guidelines.


Achievements Swachh Bharat Mission:

  • According to the SBM dashboard, more than 890.59 lakhs toilets have been built in rural areas under the programme. As of 2018, SBM (R) has achieved a coverage status of 96.51% of households as compared to 37% in 2014
  • The SBM – Rural claims to have achieved ODF status for 25 states and union territories so far. At the district level the number is 533 out of a total of 718 districts in the country (as on 26.11.2018). Further, there are 5.29 lakh+ ODF villages.
  • In urban areas, almost 5.5 million toilets have been constructed so far. Around 400,000 of these are public toilets.
  • There has been significant progress in door-to-door waste collection and 80% of urban wards had been covered up to July 2018.



  • Toilet Coverage – The states which recorded better toilet coverage also had a lower share of households contributing to open defecation.
  • Sikkim, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana, which had higher individual toilet coverage, fared best in terms of rural sanitation.
  • Odisha, Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand and Telangana with less coverage were among the laggards.
  • Usage – 6% of households in India reported open defecation despite having toilets.
  • Access to Water: It is important in determining toilet use. 63% of the households that defecated in the open reported having toilets without running water.
  • States with poor access to water in toilets have a higher share of households contributing to open defecation. e.g Jharkhand, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Bihar
  • Budget – The government set aside Rs 9,000 crore for rural sanitation in the 2016-17 Union budget but this has been accompanied by declining funds for the National Rural Drinking Water Programme.
  • This is unlikely to help eradicate open defecation.
  • Caste-based discrimination in the provision of water also seems to be responsible for low toilet usage.
  • Out of the 102 hand-pumps constructed in village in Rajasthan in the last 10 years, only two could be located in areas inhabited by lower-caste people.
  • With a regular toilet requiring at least 20-30 litres of water in a day for smooth functioning, even obtaining a few litres every day is a struggle in these areas.
  • Maintenance of toilets – It is critical to ensure usage.


Sample Question:

Swatchh Bharat will be possible if each and every person’s conscience will awaken to the necessity of Clean Environment and also the value of saving water along with environment”,  critically examine the statement.