India Is Laying Paradigms For Achieving Sustainable Development Goals

India Is Laying Paradigms For Achieving Sustainable Development Goals - Sakshi Post

By Dr. Raghavendra Mishra
Professor, Indira Gandhi National Tribal University

What the world needs today is rapid progress on the path of achievement of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals. For this, we would require catalytic actions that enable impact at scale. India has prioritised social development at scale. Through the fast-paced rollout of social development initiatives like the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) and the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), our country has shown the world how large-scale impact can be achieved in a short span of time.

These schemes have dramatically improved the health and well-being of millions of Indians, increased their ease of living, and aided economic prosperity. And as their rollout continues at great speed, it is improving the lives of millions more.

At the time of its implementation in 2014, the Swachh Bharat Mission sought to provide safe sanitation for all through the creation and use of toilets, making India open-defecation-free. India became open-defecation free on October 2, 2019, by constructing over 100 million toilets across its villages. This marked the end of Phase-I of SBM. The phase-2 of SBM was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February 2020, just before the first Covid-19 wave in India.

Phase -2 emphasises the sustainability of achievements under Phase-1 and seeks to provide adequate facilities for Solid and Liquid Waste, including plastic waste management across rural India. Under the Swachh Bharat Mission – Grameen, Phase 2, villages are progressing towards achieving the Open Defecation Free Plus (ODF Plus) status. This involves the management of all kinds of waste – be it biodegradable waste, plastic waste, grey water, or faecal sludge.

In August 2022, India reached another milestone with over one lakh villages declared as ODF Plus. This is a big achievement because the process of Solid and Liquid Waste Management involves somewhat complex technical aspects. This process is relatively new to rural India and is a second-generation issue.

Till now over 198,000 villages have become ODF Plus, which means they are making arrangements for the management of solid and liquid waste.

The Jal Jeevan Mission is also a national priority, which seeks to provide potable tap water connections to all households by 2024. We have recently achieved a new milestone of connecting 11 crore rural households with safe and clean drinking water through tap connections. We are coordinating with the state and UT governments to address the issue of access to safe water by guiding and supporting them to achieve the 100% tap water connectivity target by 2024.

In August 2019, only 3.24 crore households were connected to tap water. We have since worked to get tap water connections to 11 crore households and with the strong efforts of the state governments, we hope to connect the remaining 8.35 crore households with tap water by 2024 and achieve the Har Ghar Jal aim.

India has achieved large-scale social development despite the pandemic and the multi-faceted challenges that the global situation continues to present. Our country has risen to these challenges and delivered. A big part of the reason these initiatives have been successful is thanks to active community involvement and warm reception by the people we have sought to empower.

Social well-being through Swachh Bharat Mission and Jal Jeevan Mission is a Jan Andolan in India. People were quick to realise the benefits that accrued to them from the implementation of these initiatives and readily espoused them, taking initiative in everything from infrastructure creation to maintenance. At the same time, a lot of meticulous planning, implementation, and inter-governmental collaboration have gone into these initiatives.

India is a vast country with diverse topography, climate types, people, and cultural values. It has taken initiative, grit, execution ability, and decisive leadership to take these initiatives forward.

The G20 Presidency gives us a chance to showcase to the world our successes in aiding sustainable development, and, more importantly, share our learnings in the true spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – the World is One Family, and One Earth, One Family, One Future – the overarching theme of India’s G20 Presidency.

The implementation of the Swachh Bharat Mission and the Jal Jeevan Mission helps India directly achieve at least four SDGs — those for ensuring good health and wellbeing, clean water and sanitation, reduced inequalities, and sustainable cities and communities. They also help India move up the ladder in achieving other SDGs. This is what makes these two initiatives so important.

As the world looks at India for leadership and hope, population-scale social development initiatives like the Swachh Bharat Mission and the Jal Jeevan Mission are examples of what the people’s will, trust in governance, and meticulous implementation can truly achieve.

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