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Hardeep Singh Puri Launched Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge ;Conferral of Swachhata Awards 2020 held on World Toilet Day

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Hardeep Singh Puri launches Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge across 243CitiesThe occasion of World Toilet Day i.e. on November 19, 2020, was observed by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) and Ministry of Jal Shakti with a launch of Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge and conferring of Swachhata Awards 2020 on the 20 best performing districts, respectively.  Both events are detailed as below:

Hardeep Singh Puri launches Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge across 243 Cities

Minister of State (MoS), Independent Charge (I/C) Hardeep Singh Puri, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) launched a Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge at a webinar in New Delhi where pledge has been taken by senior officials representing 243 cities to mechanize all sewer and septic tank cleaning operations by 30th April 2021. They also gave their commitment to work towards preventing any deaths from hazardous entry.

  • Aim of Challenge: To prevent hazardous cleaning of sewers and septic tanks and promote their mechanized cleaning.
  • It was launched on the lines of Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban (SBM-U) which has made significant progress in the area of both sanitation and solid waste management since its launch in 2014.

Reason behind this launch:

The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act (2013) and various judgements of Supreme Court (SC) prohibit hazardous cleaning, i.e. manual entry into a septic tank or sewer without protective gear and observing operating procedures Despite this, recurring episodes of human fatalities continue. Therefore, to counter this situation, this decision has been taken.

About Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge:

The Challenge will raise awareness among citizens on the above mentioned issue along with infrastructure creation for mechanized cleaning and capacity building of the workforce. Also, a dedicated helpline number has been set up to register complaints and provide real-time solutions on desludging or sewer overflow.

  • In May 2021, an assessment of participating cities will be conducted by an independent agency and results of the same will be declared on August, 15 2021.
  • Cities will be awarded in three sub-categories – with a population of more than 10 lakhs, 3-10 lakhs and upto 3 lakhs, with a total prize money of Rs 52 crores.

Other Releases:

The event saw the launch of a series of advisories prepared by Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organisation (CPHEEO), MoHUA. These included the follows:

  • Training Module for ‘Sanitary Workers on Cleaning of Sewer and Septic Tanks’
  • A document on ‘Equipment & Workforce Norms for Managing Waterborne Sanitation in India’
  • Consultative Document on ‘Land Application of Faecal Sludge’.
  • A series of posters were also released as part of a citizen centric behavior change communication campaign on the subject of hazardous cleaning of sewers and septic tanks.

Open Forum Event:

An Open Forum in the format of a panel discussion was also held on the subject of ‘Manhole to Machine Hole Transformation’ where several States and cities such as Uttar Pradesh (UP), Maharashtra, Surat, Hyderabad and Ludhiana shared their experiences and best practices.

Other Participants: The Webinar was also attended by Secretaries of Ministry of Social Justice, Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, and Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, who spoke about how their Ministries were contributing to the cause of mechanizing such cleaning practices.

Gajendra Singh Shekhawat conferred Swachhata Awards on 20 best performing Districts

Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS) organized the “Swachhata Awards 2020” during the World Toilet Day under ‘Swachh Bharat Mission – Grameen (SBMG)’ for promoting awareness on access to Safe Sanitation.

  • In this regard, Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat along with the Minister of State (MoS) Rattan Lal Kataria felicitated top districts with ‘Swachhata Puraskar’ through a virtual event from New Delhi amid COVID-19 on same day.
  • The awards recognized their significant contribution towards Open Defecation Free (ODF) Sustainability and ODF Plus goals.

Names of 20 awardee Districts:

  • Siang (Arunachal Pradesh)
  • Cooch Behar (West Bengal)
  • West Godavari and East Godavari (Andhra 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)

Other Events:

The Union Minister 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.

There was a screening of a short film on ODF Plus Film (Swachhata ke Paanch Mantra) which shows key components of ODF Plus in a creative format.

About Swachh Bharat Mission – Grameen (SBMG):

On October 2, 2014, Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin/Rural) was launched as a part of SBM to make Gram Panchayats ODF, clean and sanitized. Then in February 2020, Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) Phase-II approved by the Union Cabinet to focus on ODF Plus), which includes ODF sustainability and Solid and Liquid Waste Management (SLWM).

  • It is being implemented from 2020-21 to 2024-25 in a mission mode with a total outlay of Rs. 1,40,881 crores.

Recent Related News:

i.On September 18, 2020 Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MEITY) in partnership with National Jal Jeevan Mission (NJJM), Ministry of Jal Shakti has launched ICT (Information & Communication Technology) Grand Challenge for Development of ‘Smart Water Supply Measurement & Monitoring System’ to be deployed at the village level.

ii.On October 7, 2020 Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs(MoHUA) launched the API(Application Programming Interface) integration between the PM SVANidhi Portal and the SBI(State Bank of India)’s eMudra portal.

About Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organisation (CPHEEO):

Advisor– Dr. M. Dhinadhayalan

Parent Ministry– Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA)