ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Swachh Bharat Mission

Groundwater Contamination in Peri-urban India

The Swachh Bharat Mission promises to address issues of sanitation and water in rapidly urbanising areas. However, without an adequate understanding of all potential sources of contamination, the mission may, at best, only achieve the goal of universal sanitation but may not meet the goal of safe drinking water.

This article is part of a larger project supported by Arghyam.

The Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) was announced on 2 October 2014 with the objective to achieve universal sanitation and make India open defecation free by 2019, the 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. The SBM is the latest sanitation programme, in a long line of programmes, going back to the First Five Year Plan in 1954 when the rural sanitation programme was first introduced. The SBM has arguably been more visible to the public than its predecessor, the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan. The SBM programme is being implemented by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (2014) (MDWS) for the rural (Gramin) segment and the Ministry of Urban Development (2014) (MOUD) for the urban segment. Under the SBM (Gramin), for example, there has been a rise of nearly 16% in households with toilets since 2014, and over 1.2 lakh villages have self-declared to be open defecation free. Similarly, under the SBM (urban), almost 28 lakh individual and community toilets have been constructed and 405 cities are open defecation free.1

The SBM, therefore, offers a promising solution to address the issues of sanitation and water in rapidly urbanising areas. However, the groundwater and sanitation nexus, in the emerging peri-urban regions, needs a detailed discussion in order to understand its implications for the SBM.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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