Projected Behavioural Change in Swachh Bharat Mission: A Public Policy Perspective

Publication Date01 Jun 2019
DOI10.1177/0019556119863856
AuthorGadadhara Mohapatra
SubjectArticles
Projected Behavioural
Change in Swachh
Bharat Mission:
A Public Policy
Perspective
Gadadhara Mohapatra1
Abstract
The Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) is the largest behavioural change programme
in the world. The mission has shifted its focus from production outputs (i.e. toilet
construction) to behavioural outcomes (open-defecation-free [ODF] India). The
SBM’s emphasis on behavioural change in rural sanitation at the grassroots level
also leads to rigorous verification and sustainability of the benefits accrued to
rural communities. The SBM targets to achieve an ODF India by 2019, on the
eve of the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. In addition to this, the
mission will also contribute to India reaching the UN Sustainable Development
Goal 6, which calls for ensuring availability and sustainable management of water
and sanitation for all. It is in this context that the article critically analyses the
sanitation services in general and with special reference to SBM in India from
a public policy perspective. It seeks to establish the linkages between public
health and sanitation and problemetises the issue of open-defecation and its
health implications. It provides an analysis of behavioural change techniques in
community-led total sanitation (CLTS) and its application in achieving Swachh
Bharat (clean India). The article presents a historical account of sanitation
situation in colonial and post-independence India, followed by an in-depth analysis
of the formulation of the SBM. Lastly, the article examines the current status of
implementation of SBM and it also discusses the emerging issues and concerns
that could be addressed in achieving ODF India.
Keywords
Behavioural change, Swachh Bharat Mission, public policy, sanitation, open-
defecation free, community-led total sanitation
Article
Indian Journal of Public
Administration
65(2) 451–474, 2019
© 2019 IIPA
Reprints and permissions:
in.sagepub.com/journals-permissions-india
DOI: 10.1177/0019556119863856
journals.sagepub.com/home/ipa
1 Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi, India.
Corresponding author:
Gadadhara Mohapatra, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Indian Institute of Public Administration,
Indraprastha Estate, Ring Road, New Delhi 110002, India.
E-mail: mohapatra.iipa2014@gmail.com
452 Indian Journal of Public Administration 65(2)
Introduction
Public policy tends to focus on a broad spectrum of policy issues starting from the
macro-level to everyday human activities. Public policies may regulate human
behaviour, organise bureaucracies, equitably distribute social benefits, collect
taxes or do all of these things simultaneously (Mulas, 2009). Although public
policy is a very broad field, the following definition contains its most important
elements: public policy consists of political decisions taken to implement pro-
grammes in order to achieve societal goals (Cochran & Malone, 1995). Thus, the
three key components such as political decisions, programme implementation and
societal goals are taken into account while analysing any public policy including
sanitation policies. Current understandings of the public policy processes usually
separate it into several stages: agenda setting; policy formulation; policy adoption
stage; policy implementation and policy evaluation. Policymaking is a cyclical
process. Taking all these stages of policymaking process into account, it is quite
clear that sanitation and water-related public policy is difficult and challenging
due to its complex nature. As Mead (2013) mentions, the study of public policy
has the potential both to improve policy and to teach us more about government
itself. It has been further explained that both these aspects had been, in fact,
alluded to by Aristotle when he treated politics as Master of Science—the pursuit
by which a community might achieve the good life. Given this understanding of
the terms whereby the idea of public policy is to achieve a good life for the com-
munity or public by acts undertaken by governmental and non-governmental
actors, an attempt has been made herein to take a critical look at the Government
of India’s recent policy of moving towards an open-defecation-free (ODF) India
through a behavioural change programme, as a part of the overall Swachh Bharat
Mission (SBM) to promote a Clean India.
The introductory part of the article begins with a critical analysis on the
sanitation services in general and with special reference to SBM from a public
policy perspective. The second section of the article seeks to establish the
linkages between public health and sanitation and problemetises the issue of open-
defecation and its health implications. The third section provides an analysis of
behavioural change techniques in community-led total sanitation (CLTS) and its
application in achieving Swachh Bharat (clean India). The fourth section presents
a historical account of sanitation situation in colonial and post-independence
India, followed by an in-depth analysis of the formulation of the SBM. The fifth
section examines the current status of the implementation of SBM along with the
emerging issues and concerns that could be addressed in achieving ODF India.
Lastly, the paper ends with concluding observations.
Linkages Between Public Health and Sanitation
The concept ‘public health’ could be traced back to the definition of Donald
Acheson as the: ‘science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and pro-
moting health through the organised efforts of society’ (Acheson, 1998). From

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT