The World Bank has supported PM Modi’s Swachh Bharat Mission, a sanitation campaign, to help India ensure that all its citizens in rural areas have access to improved sanitation to end open defecation by 2019. As a result, the World Bank is giving a $1.5-billion (approximately Rs 900 crore) loan to India to support the campaign.
Specifically, the project will support the SBM-Gramin, or rural component of the campaign.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim in a meeting in New York on Friday. indianexpress
The World Bank statistics states that out of the 2.4 billion people, who lack access to improved sanitation globally, over 750 million live in India, with 80 per cent living in the rural areas. About 500 million of the rural population in India continue to defecate in the open, leading to suffering from illness, harassment, economic losses, and even deaths.
Onno Ruhl, World Bank Country Director for India, said that one in every ten deaths in India is linked to poor sanitation and studies show that low income households bear the maximum brunt of poor sanitation.
“This project, aimed at strengthening the implementation of Swachh Bharat, will result in significant health benefits for the poor and vulnerable, especially those in rural areas,” Ruhl said.
He added that incentivising good performance by states and the focus on behavioural changes are two important components of this project.
The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) will oversee and coordinate the program and its implementation in states. Funds will also be used to develop the capacity of MDWS in program management, advocacy, monitoring and evaluation.
Annette Dixon, World Bank Vice President for the South Asia Region said that India has demonstrated extraordinary leadership in in pursuing the ambitious Swachh Bharat Mission .
The focus will be on behaviour to complement the construction of toilets. The World Bank will also provide a $25-million technical assistance for building the capacity of select State governments in implementing community-led behavioural change programmes targeting social norms to help ensure widespread usage of toilets by rural households.