India will be open defecation free by October 2, 2019: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday announced that India will be open defecation free (ODF) by October 2, 2019 – the 150th birth anniversary year of Mahatma Gandhi. Claiming that 95 per cent of all the cities in the country have already become open defecation free, Sitharaman announced setting up of Rashtriya Swachhata Kendra at Raj Ghat.

“I am happy and satisfied to report that India will be made Open Defecation Free on October 2nd, 2019, as per the dream of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Sitharaman said while presenting Union Budget 2019-20 in Lok Sabha.

Sitharaman further proposed to build upon the success of Swachh Bharat Mission and undertake solid waste management in every village, harnessing the latest technology.

“9.6 crore toilets have been constructed since October 2, 2014. More than 5.6 lakh villages have become open defecation free. We have to build on this success. I propose to expand the Swachh Bharat mission to undertake sustainable solid waste management in every village, harnessing the latest technology,” Sitharaman said.

The announcement is in line with the Economic Survey report that said that on June 14, 2019, 30 states and Union Territories are 100 per cent covered with an individual toilet in each household.

The report further said that since the launch of the flagship programme in October 2014, over 9.5 crore toilets have been built all over the country and 564,658 villages have been declared open defecation free.