Political leadership and public partnership has led India to lead the global arena on Urban Sanitation measures with central role played by Swachh Bharat Mission.

It takes various components like integrated waste management, Safe clean water, Air Quality management, Governance, Education, and Technology to achieve sustainable urban environmental management. Swachh Bharat and its associated various programs spearheaded in most of these aspects to have a huge impact on life and larger environment positively in urban areas


Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) started in 2014 as a country-wide campaign, to eliminate open defecation and improve solid waste management (SWM) in urban and rural areas.

With 12.6% of households in urban and 68% of households in rural India practising Open Defecation (OD) (Census 2011) and with 75% of drinking water comprising 60% of population drinking sewage contaminated water (CPCB Report 2009), this mission at this stage is pertinent to take heed the health of the individuals and for the overall environment.

The mission was split into two


Achieving universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water and sanitation, hygiene, ending open defecation, implementing integrated water management at all levels, all these with international and local communities’ participation from goal number six and sustainable human settlement formation from goal number 11 are among the SDGs which encircles around the mission objective of Swachh Bharat

Improved sanitation has been directly linked to health with examples such as state of Mizoram has reported 13% decline in stunting and five percentage decline in underweight children between 2006 and 2014 due to improved access to sanitation (India Health Report for Nutrition Security in India), and the impact on social and economic development too has to be considered such as a study conducted by UNICEF in India in 2017 established that every Indian family will save Rs. 50,000 annually if Open defecation is eliminated.


According to the official stand of the government, Urban areas of 35 States and Union Territories have become ODF by the end of 2019 with 96% of the urban wards had door-t-door collection of garbage and about 60% of the municipal solid waste being processed. Also reduction in vector borne diseases with improvement in health parameters, safeguarding dignity of women are the added seasonings.

Stage 1 – SBM ODF

Under this protocol independent third party would certify a city as ODF on satisfying the following requirements,

Definition: A city can be declared as ODF if, at any point of the day, not a single person is found defecating in the open.

Indicative Conditions:

Stage 2 – SBM ODF+

Definition: Not a single person is found defecating or urinating in the open, and all community and public toilets are functional and well maintained.

This is for maintaining acceptable levels of cleanliness of community toilets, to be functional and hygienic and can be used regularly by citizens again with third party verification based on the requirements, same as that of the ODF,

Stage 3 – SBM ODF+

Definition: All faecal sludge and sewage is safely managed and treated, with no discharging and dumbing of untreated sludge open areas/water bodies.

Indicative conditions: All toilets connected to sewer network or safe containment system and scheduled mechanical desludging by authorised operators, and proper maintaainence of sewage networks and treatment plsns

Stage 4 – SBM Water+

Definition: A city can be declared as water + provided all wastewater from households, commercial establishments, is treated to a satisfactory level before releasing the waste water to the environment



By the end of this decade India will host more than 40% of its population in urban areas and urban sanitation will play a key role in overall development of the country.

The scepticism about the success of SBM which relates to sanitation workers, the people who make India clean, remain “invisible in the participation, process or consequences of this national level movement, there should be an constant endeavour to ensure that manual entry into sewers and septic tanks is completely eliminated or is allowed only under very special circumstances and only with proper protective equipment and safety gear.

Even though the success of these missions are now and then questioned like the recent ‘draft’ report by National Sample Survey Office (NSSO)’s latest survey, pegged toilet coverage in India at only 75 per cent, of which 80 per cent of those were being used, urban India has definitely seen improvements in sanitation and a lot that remains to be done, so that all cities become truly smart and liveable.