• 13 June 2024

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan: Transforming India Through Cleanliness and Behavioral Change

Aug 18, 2023

The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, also known as the Clean India Mission, was launched on October 2nd, 2014, with a determined aim to make India cleaner, healthier, and more hygienic. Led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, this ambitious initiative tackled crucial issues like open defecation, insufficient sanitation facilities, and improper waste management, which had persisted for a long time. Beyond just building toilets and waste systems, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan aimed to bring about a significant change in how society views cleanliness. This article explores the wide-ranging goals, accomplishments, obstacles, and influence of this massive campaign, highlighting how it has transformed India’s environment and promoted a culture of cleanliness and hygiene.

Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan


  • Over 9.5 crore toilets built across the country (as of June 2019).
  • 5.8 million household toilets and about 500,000 community/public toilets in urban areas.
  • 564,658 villages declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) villages.
  • Over 650,000 Swachhagrahis were recruited to initiate behavioral change.
  • Average exposure to 2,500 to 3,300 SBM-related messages over five years.
  • Rs 3,500 crore to Rs 4,000 crore spent on Information, Education, and Communication (IEC).
  • Mobilized an equivalent investment worth Rs 22,000 crore to Rs 26,000 crore.
  • Swachh Bharat was introduced, imposing a 0.5% service tax on all services.
  • Aims to provide 2.6 lakh public toilets and 2.5 lakh community toilets.
  • 71 Public Sector Undertakings supported construction of new toilets.
  • Poor sanitation costs India around 5.2% of its GDP.
  • Over 10 crore rural households without sanitary toilets in 2014, 99.2% rural India coverage in the last four years.
  • Financial savings from household toilets exceed costs by 1.7 times (on average). Poorest households experience 2.4 times savings.
  • Estimated to cost about 62 thousand crore.
  • Families constructing household toilets receive Rs. 12,000 in assistance from the Government.

Objectives of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

The objectives of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, also known as the Clean India Mission, encompass a comprehensive range of goals aimed at transforming India’s sanitation and hygiene landscape. These objectives include:

Elimination of Open Defecation

Moreover, the chief goal of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is to eliminate open defecation nationwide. This is generally accomplished by building numerous household and community toilets, guaranteeing universal access to adequate sanitation facilities.

Proper Waste Management

The mission seeks to address the challenge of improper waste disposal by promoting effective waste management practices. This includes the proper collection, transportation, processing, and disposal of solid, liquid, and plastic waste.

Health and Hygiene Improvement

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan aims to improve public health and hygiene conditions by reducing the prevalence of diseases caused by poor sanitation. The campaign has led to a significant reduction in diseases like diarrhoea, malaria, stillbirths, and low birth weight cases.

Behavioral Change

Moreover, in addition to infrastructure development, the mission actively promotes a behavioral shift among citizens towards cleanliness. Furthermore, its objective is to imbue a sense of responsibility and raise awareness about the vital significance of upholding a clean and hygienic environment.

Promotion of Safe Toilets

The mission encourages the construction of safe and hygienic toilets in households, ensuring privacy and dignity, especially for women. It also emphasizes converting insanitary latrines into sanitary ones.

Plastic Waste Elimination

And also, within the campaign, focus is placed on diminishing and eradicating plastic waste from the surroundings. This includes advocating for responsible plastic consumption, recycling, and efficient waste management practices.

Community Engagement

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan emphasizes active participation and engagement of communities, local bodies, and citizens in cleanliness drives and waste management activities.

Awareness and Education

And also, the mission incorporates educational initiatives to enhance awareness regarding sanitation, hygiene, and waste management. These efforts target students and communities.

Employment Generation

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan contributes to employment generation by creating opportunities for Safai Karmacharis (sanitation workers) and manual scavengers through the Swachhta Udyami Yojana.

Public-Private Partnerships

And also, the campaign fosters partnerships among governmental bodies, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector to actively participate in the cleanliness and hygiene initiative.

Tourism and Economy

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan aims to enhance the tourism sector and boost the economy by improving the overall cleanliness and hygiene of tourist destinations.

Global Recognition

The mission has garnered international recognition and awards, such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi receiving the ‘Global Goalkeeper Award’ from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for his leadership in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

Interesting Facts

  • Ministries Involved:
    • Swachh Bharat Abhiyan Rural: Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
    • Swachh Bharat Abhiyan Urban: Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
  • Origin and Restructuring:
    • Restructured version of Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan from the previous government.
  • Scale and Participation:
    • Largest cleanliness program in India.
    • Over three million government employees and students participate in cleanliness drives.
  • Ambassadors and Supporters:
    • Many famous Indian personalities appointed as brand ambassadors.
    • Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, and others.
  • Cleanliness Surveys:
    • Swachh Survekshan Survey conducted annually to monitor progress.
  • Focus on Converting Latrines:
    • Campaign focuses on converting insanitary latrines to sanitary ones.
  • Plastic Waste Management Campaign:
    • Launched to eliminate plastic waste from India.
  • Special Initiatives:
    • “Bal Swachhta Abhiyan” involves students and teachers.
    • “Swachh Bharat-Swachh Vidyalaya” campaign to teach clean water and sanitation benefits.
  • State Performance:
    • States like Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka excel in cleanliness.
  • Cleanest Cities:
    • Indore is generally declared the cleanest city.
    • Additionally, Bhopal is named the cleanest capital.
    • Moreover, Ahmedabad, Ujjain, and NDMC are recognized for their cleanliness efforts. Furthermore, they all contribute to a cleaner environment
  • Behavioral Change Emphasis:
    • Main objective is to bring behavioral changes.
  • Swachhta App:
    • “Swachhta” app launched for understanding and participating in cleanliness drives.
  • Impact on Tourism and Economy:
    • Improved tourism, employment, and GDP due to a cleaner environment.
  • Recognition and Awards:
    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi awarded “Global Goalkeeper Award” by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
  • Environmental and Economic Benefits:
    • Improved productivity and per capita income due to a healthy environment.
  • Regional Initiatives:
    • States like Himachal Pradesh and Haryana promote cleanliness through bans and slogans.
  • Promoting Sanitation:
    • Haryana’s slogan “No toilet, No bride” encourages household toilets.
  • Prime Minister’s Perspective:
    • Emphasis on behavioral change for lasting impact.

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