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4) Mere construction of toilets to achieve ODF status will not lead to improvement in access to basic sanitation for Indians. Critically Examine.(250 words)

Topic – Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the
performance of these schemes

4) Mere construction of toilets to achieve ODF status will not lead to improvement in access to basic sanitation for Indians. Critically Examine.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

Under the transformation of aspirational districts initiative, government is pushing for fulfillment of target of toilet construction under SBM. Whether or not this will help in achieving improvement in SDG targets etc needs to be analyzed in greater depth, now that 2019 is near. Status of toilet construction, other shortcomings in sanitation etc needs to be analyzed in greater depth.

Key demand of the question

Following points have to be incorporated in the answer

  • Details about SBM, the status of toilet construction and what it is trying to achieve
  • Examine why construction of toilets is not going to be sufficient – associated issues of maintenance etc, related issues of improving sanitation that includes solid and liquid waste management, clean water availability, behaviour change etc needs to be brought about
  • Also analyze the penchant of government to implement policies by a target based approach which shifts the focus away from the broader problem and instead makes us myopic in our vision
  • Discuss the way forward

Directive word

Critically examine –  When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Discuss about the ODF target of the government under SBM and the current focus on achieving numbers prior to 2019 through transformation of aspirational districts initiative. Also mention what the government is trying to achieve – improvement in sanitation

Body

  • Mention how far India has come in construction of toilets – mention the benefits that will accrue through this step
  • Probe deeper to bring out the issues linked to improving sanitation that is being ignored – solid and liquid waste management, behavioural change etc.
  • Discuss why these issues are critical in improving India’s ranking in SDG and improving the sanitation situation in rural India
  • Discuss the shortcoming of adopting a target based policy approach
  • Summarise your arguments and present your point of view

Conclusion – highlight the need for broadening our outlook when it comes to questions of sanitation and discuss way forward.