India lagged on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as envisaged by the 2030 agenda of the United Nations and slipped by 2 places to 117 compared to the previous year’s ranking, according to the recently released State of India’s Environment Report 2021. India’s rank dropped below four South Asian countries due to the challenges regarding 17 SDGs including the SDG-6.
The UN SDG-6 mandates to ‘ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all’ by 2030.
Among all the Sustainable Development Goals, SDG-6 is of primary importance due to its direct impact on other important aspects like health, food security and livelihood. Access to clean water and safe sanitation has a direct bearing on the public health and economy of any country.
It’s a huge task for India to ensure access to clean water and sustainable sanitation for all given the country’s vast and diverse population. However, India’s consistent efforts towards access to clean water and safe sanitation through various programmes have lately shown significant results.
The Swachh Bharat campaign launched in 2014 helped rural India to become open defecation free. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on October 2, 2019 declared rural India open defecation free. Under the Swachh Bharat Mission programme over 11 crore toilets were built across the country covering more than 6 lakh villages in 699 districts of the country. Over 60 crore people got access to toilets under the first phase of Swachh Bharat Mission. The second phase of the Swachh Bharat Mission, launched recently, now aims for sustainable sanitation in rural India and garbage-free cities.
Indian has made progress of an unprecedented scale with respect to access to sanitation. Now the way forward is to ensure the sustained usage of toilets along with hygiene practices. As the goal of access to safe sanitation has already been significantly realised it is now important to promote behavioural change towards toilet usage for achieving the SDG-6.
India has only 4% of the world’s freshwater resources whereas it’s home to 1.3 billion people. A large part of the population still struggle to get access to clean water due to the lack of piped water supply and the scarcity of potable water. However, the ambitious Jal Jeevan Mission programme, launched in 2019, aims to provide piped drinking water to every rural household by 2024.
Under the flagship Jal Jeevan Mission programme over 8.45 crore or 44% of the total 19.22 crore rural households have been provided with piped water connections, according to the latest government data. Six states and Union Territories— Goa, Telangana, Haryana, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Puducherry— have achieved 100% coverage of tap water connection for rural households.
India has made a massive progress towards access to clean water and safe sanitation in recent months and it’s a stride in right direction towards achieving SDG-6. Going forward to the challenge is to ensure access to clean water for all at all time. Also it’s important for sustainable sanitation to maintain the behavioural change towards toilet usage. Despite all the challenges India’s water and sanitation policies should be revised, whenever needed, to achieve SDG-6 goals by 2030.
Mission Paani, an initiative by News18 and Harpic India, is a campaign to amplify the initiatives for clean water, sanitation and hygiene. This campaign aims to bring all the ideas and innovations together to ensure safe drinking water, hygienic living and access to safe sanitation for all.
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