Chandigarh May 22, 2019
56th PU Colloquium
Swachhta is Everyone’s Business - Parameswaran Iyer
“The Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) (SBM-G) launched in 2014 has
revolutionized sanitation in India, specially the rural sanitization coverage which
increased to nearly 99% from 38.7% in 2014”, said Sh Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary,
Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India and leading flagship of
SBM while delivering the lecture on ‘Implementation of Large Scale Social
Transformation Programmes: Lessons from the Swachh Bharat Mission during the 56th
Panjab University Colloquium 4th Shenmar Memorial Oration, held here today.
While sharing the detailed information about various challenges in
implementing Swachh Bharat Mission, Sh. Iyer said that this had direct bearing in the
largest transformation ever witnessed in the behavioural changes in India and abroad.
He informed that over 5.6 lakh villages, 617 districts and 30 States/UTs have been
declared Open Defecation Free (ODF). More than 9.22 crore toilets have been
constructed in the rural areas in this period. The recently concluded National Annual
Rural Sanitation Survey (NARSS) conducted by an Independent Verification Agency
surveying over 90,000 households across India has pegged the usage of these toilets at
over 96.5%.
He further added that developing a large scale programme for a nation like
India, with complexity of 22 languages, 700 dialects, 6000 villages was a challenging
task as one size does not fit all. The challenge of implementing at scale was met with
leveraging the power of 1.3 billion people to create a Jan Andolan. Extensive
Information, Education and Communication (IEC) interventions were used to target
beliefs held for generations (Stigma). Finally, more important than achieving was
sustainability in the long term to ensure that people don’t slip back into old habits.
Sh. Iyer further informed that to bring behaviour changes at large scale, over
6 lakh grassroot sanitation champions or ‘swachhagrahis’ have been trained to deliver
sanitation messages in their villages. They work at the cutting edge and motivate and
inspire communities to build and use toilets through community approaches to
sanitation and behaviour change triggering, he informed. He vociferously highlighted
the main tagline of the mission is “Swachhta is Everyone’s Business”
He further informed that large scale people’s participation campaigns like the
Swachh Sunder Shauchalaya (1st January, 2019 to 31st January, 2019) during which 1.34
crore toilets in rural India were painted by householders, and Swachchata Hi Seva
(15th September 2018 to 2nd October 2018) where over 20 crore people participated by
offering shramdaan or taking pledges for swachhata, show the scale that the program
has managed to achieve. Even celebrities have taken to the movement and participated
in mass media campaigns such as Darwaza Band (1 & 2) with Amitabh Bachchan and Anushka
Sharma, and showcased the Mission in popular culture such as ‘Toilet – ek prem katha’
with Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar.
Talking about the Policy lessons, he stressed upon the 4Ps of the mission for
large scale transformation which includes Political Leadership, Public Funding,
Partnerships and Peoples participation. About Administrative lessons, he said that it
was important to set a target for any programme like this and time period of 5 years
i.e. October 2, 2019 has been set as a deadline for the Swachh Bharat Mission. It
started with the belief that it can be achieved and hence the SBM-G team was created.
Younger people like students were appointed Brand Ambassador of the mission, women
workers were also roped in as motivators at the grass root level. They triggered
behavioural change at ground level. Then there were Collectors which was the most
critical force being helped by many young professionals from IIT’s and IIM’s to work
in fields. All ministries were also pitched in for sensitizing people about the
mission. Arguably the biggest game-changer for the SBM (G) was that the Hon’ble Prime
Minister lent his personal political capital to the Mission. Inspired by the
leadership and commitment of the PM, various Chief Ministers (CM) and District
Magistrates (DM) emerged as sanitation champions –the PM-CM-DM model in this Village
Mukhiya’s (VM) was added to bring transformation at the grass root level.
He added that continuous engagement with implementers keeps them motivated.
Regular feedback was taken and the SBM-G team visited each state multiple times and
engaged directly with district collectors through learning workshops and informal
gatherings. Healthy competitions at all levels- State, District and Village were
conducted. It was also informed that association of Bollywood stars, sportspersons and
other influencers with SBM-G helped break the taboo around sanitation. Apart from
this, SBM-G organized mass events and campaigns which helped it stay on top of public
recall.
Prof. Shankarji Jha, Acting Vice Chancellor and Dean of University
Instruction, PU in his address said that it was a matter of great pride and honour to
successfully complete 55 PU Colloquiums and Shenmar Memorial Oration which has proved
to be a platform for various eminent personalities to share their experiences here. He
said it was an honour and a very alluring opportunity for Panjab University and the
exuberant audience gathered here today, to have Sh. Paramewaran Iyer, Secretary,
Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India, us as the Invited
Speaker.

Prof. T.R. Sharma. Executive Director, NABI, Mohali in his address while
appreciating the success of the SBM-G, compared it with the Green Revolution which
started with political will at the top. He said that the awareness for such campaign
continues and need to persistently make people aware of these. He added that SBM-G of
Government of India has brought a revolutionary change and for upgrading the hygiene
and cleanliness stature of the Nation by stimulating the thought process of both the
rural and urban areas.

Earlier, Prof. Promila Pathak, Coordinator, Colloquium Committee introduced
Sh. Parameswaran Iyer to the audience. She expressed her gratitude to Dr Shashi Paul &
Dr. Vinod K Paul, Chairman, Board of Governers, Medical Council of India for their
solicit presence and their pillar like support and generosity towards the Shenmar
Memorial Orations that are held annually.
The lecture was well attended by a large number of distinguished scientists
and guests, senior and young faculty members, members of CRIKC, research scholars and
UG/PG students from Panjab University. The event ended successfully by a vote of
thanks proposed by Dr. Shruti Bedi, a member Colloquium Committee. The family members
of Sh.K.C Shenmar including Mr.Vinod Paul and Mrs. Shashi Paul were also present and
felicitated the speaker with a token of gratitude.