- The mountainous State of Himachal Pradesh was declared the first Open Defecation-Free (ODF) State in the big States category under the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) .
- It is the first State to do so after Sikkim, which was the first to be declared ODF in the small States category.
- “Good sanitation and hygiene are not new to India and a movement was led by Mahatma Gandhi for it, but later, the country lagged behind in this initiative somehow and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has to re-launch it now,” said Mr. Tomar. Due to this, the percentage of cleanliness in the State has gone up to 58 per cent from the earlier 42 per cent, he said.
- The Centre is giving massive grants to the States for setting off cleanliness drives under schemes like the Rs. 12,000 crore Prime Minister Aawas Yojna.
- There was stiff competition from Kerala for becoming the first ODF State in the big States is category and the hill State has won the contest.
- ODF was taken up as a mission by the hill State, and jointly addressed by all involved under the concept of cooperative federalism, he said.
- The hill State has become a model for others and its common people should be applauded for this achievement.
Source: The Hindu