Telangana bagged the top position in terms of accomodating the highest number of open defecation-free (ODF Plus) villages in the country.
With 13,737 villages out of the total 14,200 villages being on the ODF Plus list, the state clinched a success rate of 96.74 per cent under the Phase-II programme of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen).
It was followed by Tamil Nadu with 4,432 villages (35.39 per cent) and Karnataka with 1,511 villages (5.59 per cent). Gujarat secured the 17th position with only 83 villages (0.45 per cent).
Countrywide, out of 5,82,903 villages, only 26,138 villages have been declared ODF, reported The New Indian Express.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir, Bihar, West Bengal, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tripura, and Goa made zero progress with open defecation still being practiced in its villages.
What Makes a Village ODF+?
The government introduced two ODF categories, ODF+ and ODF++, in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan mandate.
The criteria to receive ODF+ certification is that an area, city, ward, or work circle should be open defecation-free and ensure that the public and community toilets are functional and well-maintained. The condition for an ODF++ status calls for efficient maintenance of the toilet facilities and safe treatment and management of faecal sludge and sewage. Under this, there is no discharge of untreated faecal septage in open areas drains, and water bodies must be ensured.
Open Defecation-Still A Reality
In most villages, open defecation highlights a mindset concern. People think that defecating in toilets built in or near their homes will make their homes impure. As per reports, affordable latrines require regular manual cleaning, a task that is often restricted due to financial constraints and issues of casteism act as a barrier in making India Open Defecation Free.
How Telangana Villages Bagged ODF+
The state government has enacted a new Telangana Panchayat Raj Act to ensure the holistic development of villages. A secretary has been posted in every panchayat for smooth execution of welfare programs, close monitoring, digital reporting, and to ensure the prevalence of good governance in villages. Multi-purpose workers have been appointed to maintain proper sanitation in villages.