Document Type : Original Article


1 National Health Mission, Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Odisha, Odisha, Bhubaneswar, India

2 School of Rural Management, KIIT Deemed to be University, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India


Universal access to safe sanitation is yet to be accomplished in India. Although Clean India
Mission (named as “Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin)” for rural India) claims that the sanitation
coverage in rural India has increased from 39% to 100% of households from 2014 and 2019, yet
open defaecation continues in India in large numbers. This article discusses the achievements on
Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) and identifies the existing challenges that need to be acted on to
achieve the success of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission. We searched international database mainly
Google scholar, Pubmed, Medline, Scopus, and Science direct using “Clean India,” “Swachh Bharat,”
“Sanitation,” “Open defecation,” “Environmental heath,” and “India” as search keywords in different
combinations. In addition, websites of relevant United Nations (UN) agencies, Government of India
and leading newspaper and national agencies were also searched manually for related publications
and reports. In the last 5 years (2014‑2019), significant efforts have been made for the Swachh Bharat
Mission by creating various social movements and awareness program to improve toilet coverage
throughout India. Over 100 million, latrines have been built as of the end of the first phase of Swachh
Bharat Mission (Gramin) as on October 2, 2019 and all villages across the districts of India have
been declared Open Defaecation Free. Still, nearly half of the rural population (52.1%) defecate in
the open. Lack of piped water supply, poor construction of toilet substructures and misconception
among people about toilet use remain as key challenges in the achievement of India’s sanitation
mission. Sanitation‑related behavioral change and improvement in toilet facilities must be prioritized
to ensure usage of built toilets and eventually can accelerate the universal access to sanitation and
meet Sustainable Development Goals.


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