Jal Shakti Ministry celebrates World Toilet Day with Union Minister conferring Swachhata Awards on 20 best performing Districts

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New Delhi: Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and the Minister of State, Jal Shakti, Shri Rattan Lal Kataria conferred the Swachhata Awards 2020 on the 20 best performing districts for making significant contribution towards ODF Sustainability and ODF Plus goals on the occasion of World Toilet Day today. These awards were given at a virtual ceremony organized by Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS), Ministry of Jal Shakti and saw the online participation by Central, State and District SBMG officials.

In his address, Union Minister Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said that the SBMG has transformed rural India by manifesting into a Jan Andolan for sanitation under guidance and leadership of Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi achieving Open Defecation Free (ODF) rural India milestone in mission mode, in a span of five years. Taking forward the extraordinary success, Phase 2 of the SBM (G) has been launched early this year, which focuses on ODF sustainability and Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM) aiming at comprehensive cleanliness in villages. He stressed on the importance of access to safe sanitation facilities in terms of social, economic and health benefits to rural community members especially the vulnerable and marginalized community. Shri Shekhawat said that the awards being given today are recognition to worthy contributions made by community members for boosting the People’s movement.

Speaking on the occasion Minister of State Shri Rattan Lal Kataria applauded the efforts of all stakeholders associated with SBM for making it a remarkable journey since 2014 and world’s largest behavior change programme. He congratulated the awardees for making significant contribution in improving sanitation and cleanliness standards in their villages and urged everyone to continue working with same spirit in SBM Phase 2 as well which focuses on the bigger goal of ODF Plus.

Shri U P Singh, Secretary, DDWS, Ministry of Jal Shakti complimented all the states’ SBMG teams for making significant contribution in Phase 1 of SBMG and stressed that goals outlined under Phase 2 are more important for sustaining toilet usage and comprehensive cleanliness. He stressed on the resolve and commitment to attain ODF Plus status for all the villages in mission mode under Phase 2. At the same time, he pointed out at the challenge to sustain the Phase 1 gains.

The Union Minister also had a virtual interaction or Sarpanch Samvad with nine Sarpanches from ODF Plus Gram Panchayats where Sapanches shared their key activities such as SLWM, people’ participation and ODF Sustainability. Sarpanches shared their inspiring success stories live with all through online media. The occasion also observed the screening of a short film on ODF Plus Film (Swachhata ke Paanch Mantra) which shows key components of ODF Plus in a creative format.

The 20 awardee districts are namely West Godavari and East Godavari (Andhra Pradesh), Siang (Arunachal Pradesh), Kanker and Bemetara (Chhattisgarh);Vadodara and Rajkot (Gujarat); Bhiwana and Rewari (Haryana); Ernakulam and Wayanad (Kerala);Kolhapur and Nashik (Maharashtra); Kolasib and Serchhip (Mioram); Moga and Fatehgarh Sahib (Punjab); Siddipet and Peddapalli (Telangana); and Cooch Behar (West Bengal).

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