SWACHHA BHARAT MISSION – KARNATAKA LEADS WITH “MANDYA MODEL”
Today, Mandya district in Karnataka has become top in total rural BPL toilet construction in the country with more than 42000 toilets completed and more than one-lakh planned for completion before March 2015. This has been done by Smt Rohini Sindhuri, IAS (2009 Batch) through a strategy she implemented as Chief Executive Officer, Zilla Panchayat, Mandya District. This has led to construction & use of more than 5 Lakh toilets in Karnataka, making Karnataka number one in the country.
Q1. When & why did you decide to focus on open defecation free Mandya?
Within a fortnight of my joining Mandya district in June 2014 there were two distressing incidents; one of rape of a 6th standard girl when she went outside for natures call and another the death of a 45 old woman who suffered snake bite for the same reason.
I found that, as per the baseline survey 62% (>2.5Lakh households of 4 lakh houeseholds in the district) did not have toilets. I realized how deplorable this was to all and needed urgent action. Karnataka had already taken the open defecation free as a call and I took it up immediately in Mandya. The seriousness of the issue was communicated to all and the district has since worked tirelessly to achieve this goal.
Q2. Mandya District ranked No. 1 in toilet construction for rural BPL in the country. How did you achieve this in a short span of 6 months? What is “Mandya Model”?
There was one month’s preparation before the campaign was launched. I personally spoke to each PDO (Panchayat Development Officer – Mandya has 232 panchayats and each panchayat has a PDO) and panchayath members in block/taluk wise (7 blocks in Mandya) workshops to understand the issues.
a) The problems identified were -
- Baseline Survey list not having names of many genuine households without toilets.
- Non payments or delays in payments for constructed toilets.
- Confusion at the field level regarding circulars, payments etc.
- Lack of awareness both at the official level and also for the public at large.
b) Solutions were identified for each individual problem -
- Re-survey of the baseline survey was done in 3-weeks time (for about 18 Lakh population).
- Detailed circular regarding payments was given, as there was convergence with MGNREGA.
- Block level workshops were conducted and each PDO was communicated the targets they had to achieve monthly. The entire district was mobilized with the ASHA, Anganwadi workers, school children, BNV, NYK , & NGOs.
- Lot of time was spent on IEC activities with, street plays and auto rickshaw campaign, mobile and television spots.
c) System of “specific campaign style deliverables each week” was put into place when the whole district would do -
- Work Order issuance by Gram Panchayats (every Saturday).
- Payments for all constructed toilets (every Thursday).
- Field verification of construction and usage by Social Audit Wing of Mandya (once a month).
Meetings and workshops in each Block with all the Gram Panchayat members, other Panchayat Raj elected representatives, & officials were held each month and the campaign style working system was implemented week after week. Continuous monitoring and feedback was established. Each of the panchayats knew what their targets were. This Model was replicated across the State in September and it led to issuance of more than 5-Lakh work orders in three-days in the State from 10th to 12th September 2014.
Q3. What is your motivation to work towards such a performance?
I have always believed that all public servants have immense opportunities to directly participate in nation building. This opportunity is a big responsibility and I feel privileged to be able to directly work with people. I am very happy and motivated to keep on doing this. Taking up this campaign has taught me a lot both professionally and personally. One such fact of life as stated by Bernard Shaw, “Nothing is ever accomplished by a reasonable man”, holds so true at the field level. It is a fact that campaign style works wonderfully in our system; be it the success of pulse polio or the elections. And this campaign launched by our hon’able PM will certainly yield positive results.