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The Swachh Bharat Mission UPSC NOTE

 Environment Performance Index (EPI)

  • The Environment Performance Index (EPI) is an international ranking system that measures environmental health and sustainability of countries.

  • The EPI, a biennial index, was started in 2002 as Environmental Sustainability Index by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Columbia University Center for International Earth Science Information Network.

  • The EPI ranks countries on climate change performance, environmental health, and ecosystem vitality. 

  • It measures 40 performance indicators across 11 issue categories, such as air quality, and drinking water and sanitation

  • India was ranked right at the bottom of 180 countries in the EPI in 2022

The Swachh Bharat Mission

  • Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is a campaign launched On October 2, 2014, by the Prime Minister of India 

  • Under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the objective is to promote cleanliness, sanitation, and open defecation to improve the general quality of life in rural areas

  • Components: Construction of toilets, Behavioral change campaigns, Solid waste management

  • Key Achievements: Construction of millions of toilets, Decline in open defecation, Increase in sanitation coverage

  • The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was executed in two distinct phases. 

  • The first phase was carried out until October 2019, while the second phase spanned from 2020-21 to 2024-25

Gap between Initiative and implementation

  • The SBM and SBM 2.0, which was launched in 2021 and which aims to make all cities free of garbage. 

  • Sanitation and waste management in India are associated with the wide prevalence of caste

  • Historically, the subjugated castes have been forced to carry out sanitation work. 

  • The SBM tried to create a narrative that sanitation is everyone’s job

  • Instead, it has ended up continuing the same old caste practices

  • The Union government claims that India is open defecation-free, but the reality is different. 

  • A Comptroller and Auditor General report in 2020 raised many questions about the government’s claims over the success of the SBM on this front. 

  • It indicated the poor quality of construction of toilets under this scheme

  • A few urbanisation studies pointed out that in some metros, communities in slums still do not have access to public toilets

  • Even in rural India, toilet construction has not been linked to waste treatment

  • In peri-urban areas, the faecal sludge generated is tossed into the environment

  • Septic tanks are cleaned by manual scavengers and the sludge is thrown into various water systems

  • City governments are being asked to buy more machines including road sweeping machines that cost no less than ₹1 crore, more vehicles to transport the waste from one corner to another with geo-tagging, and so on. 

  • Funds are made available to the city governments for such plans. 

  • However, all this work is being handed over to large contractors entering the city domains for making sanitation a profit entity. 

  • Most of the workers employed by these contractors are Dalits

  • Hence, a scheme fully owned by the state has become a toolkit for the privatisation of public health services and continues caste discrimination.

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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: The Swachh Bharat Mission UPSC NOTE
The Swachh Bharat Mission UPSC NOTE
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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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