World Bank project to support Clean India Mission

WASHINTON: A World Bank project will support the Clean India Mission, the country’s largest-ever drive to improve sanitation in rural areas. India faces an enormous challenge in improving sanitation. Now a new $1.5 billion World Bank project will support India’s Swachh Bharat or Clean India Mission, the country’s largest-ever drive to improve sanitation. The project will promote behaviour change among rural communities and help accelerate results in India’s states by giving them performance-based incentives.

According to a World Bank report, despite a record of impressive economic growth, India still faces the challenge of ensuring good sanitation and public health for her citizens. In rural India, three out of five people suffer the indignity of defecating in the open. Girls and women have to venture out before dawn or after dark, leaving them vulnerable to harassment.

One in every ten deaths in India is linked to poor sanitation. And nearly 44 million children under five remain stunted, robbed of the chance to achieve their full potential. All told, the country loses the equivalent of 6 percent of GDP due to inadequate sanitation.

In 2014, the Government of India launched the ambitious Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), or Clean India Mission – the country’s largest-ever drive to improve sanitation. The SBM aims to end open defecation, achieve open defecation free communities, and improve the management of liquid and solid wastes.

Now, a new $1.5 billion World Bank program will support the Government of India in implementing the rural component of the Clean India Mission. The program will help accelerate results in India’s states by giving them performance-based incentives.

The new Mission is time-bound and result-oriented. Given India’s enormous diversity, it accords flexibility to the states to adopt delivery models most suited to their local contexts, while making budgetary resources and technical assistance available from the central government.

Implementation on the ground will be monitored. A national sample-survey of rural sanitation will be conducted every year by independent third-party agencies. Sanitation improvements will be measured in terms of the number of rural people who have stopped open defecation, sustaining the open defecation-free status of villages, and achieving improvements in solid and liquid waste management.

Based on the survey findings, the World Bank will release funds to the Government of India. The central government will in turn pass on the funds to the states, based on their performance on the above parameters every year.

These incentives will be in addition to the budgetary support provided by the central government to the states for funding program investments, hence these will be additional grants based on states’ performance. This will also foster competition between states.

By promoting and sustaining changed behaviours, the program will help accelerate the achievement of goals under the Clean India Mission by 2 Oct, 2019, Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary.

In addition, the Bank will help strengthen the institutional capacities of the national Ministry of Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation, as well as of selected states, particularly those which face challenges in sanitation.

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