Karnataka’s SBM Story


The concept of sanitation is now one of the basic determinants of human development index. Over the past several years, it has grown in understanding and perception across the country.  From being addressed as a simple latrine construction programme it has now grown to a much wider programme with community participation, addressing the very issues related to improvement in the quality of life.

Before the implementation of Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin (SBM-G), open defecation was common in the rural areas of Karnataka. People never considered it as a matter of shame or looked at it from a sanitary perspective. As a result, health status was relatively low owing to their less sanitized environment.

According to the Baseline Survey of 2012, out of the total 70.32 lakh rural households in Karnataka, just 35% had toilets, while the majority 65% were without toilets.

Keen to remedy the situation, Government of Karnataka has been implementing SBM-G on a priority basis with a view to making all villages open-defecation free (ODF) and to achieve high sanitation levels, with Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRI) driving the movement.

Achievements thus far

Karnataka has been a forerunner, putting forth concerted efforts to implement total sanitation across the rural areas of the state.  Between 2nd October 2014 and 22nd October 2018, as many as 45.20 lakh individual household latrines (IHHLs) were constructed across the state, with only 0.29 lakh IHHLs yet to be constructed. Sanitation coverage today is over 99.7%.

Tracing the progress across the contours of Karnataka, as many as 5 districts were declared ODF in 2016-17; 15 districts in 2017-18 and 5 districts so far in 2018-19, the balance being 5 districts.

Current state-wide ODF situation

Karnataka Total ODF Balance
Villages 27072 25119 1953
Gram Panchayats 6022 5355 667
Blocks 176 153 23
Districts 30 25 5

IEC & Capacity Building for Rural Sanitation

To create understanding and interest in sanitation issues among the community and to assist them to utilize the options provided under various sanitation programs, the Government had introduced the component of Information, Education and Communication (IEC). Under this, the concept and details of schemes supporting improved sanitation and hygiene are to be disseminated to people using various techniques to increase demand for sanitation facilities. IEC activities in Karnataka have been a core component of SBM, with personal, community as well as political participation. Training workshops are also being conducted for Gram Panchayat officials, non-official staff such as Asha and Anganwadi activists, NYKS volunteers, and selected Bharat Nirman volunteers.

Some striking examples:

Every district achieving ODF status in the state has seen a unique approach.

  • Construction of IHHL and Community toilets in Naga Nade village in Udupi District was possible despite high levels of superstition. People were under the belief that construction of toilets will attract the displeasure of the serpent god.
  • Successful involvment of NSS volunteers in Dakshin Kannada for construction of toilets
  • Transportation and building pre-fabricated toilets manually in hilly regions of Kodagu
  • Building of 75,000 toilets in 100 days in the toughest district of Kolar, thanks to the intense follow-up of the CEO Smt. Kaveri who made the ‘Mission Possible’
  • Forming the largest human chain involving 15000 students for ‘Mission 200 hours-21000 IHHLs constructed’
  • Constructing DIY boys’ urinals using discarded water cans in Koppal district.

Initiatives such as Swachh Shakti Mahila Shakti were encouraged under the leadership of dynamic women officers, namely Dr. Nagambika Devi, former Principal Secretary, RDPR; Smt. Kaveri, CEO-Kolar; Smt. Priyanka-DC Udupi; Smt. Snehal, CEO-Dharwad; and many more.

In addition, many rural women initiated local ingenuous campaigns. For instance, Sharanamma, a rural vegetable vendor of Koppal district gave 1kg tomatoes free to households that had IHHLS (Individual Household Latrines). Akkamma Sharanabasavva from Kalaburagi pledged her gold and LIC bonds for building IHHLs. Many students protested against open defecation and undertook fasting, until 100% IIHL coverage was achieved in their villages.

State Achievements:

  • “Swachchata Hi Seva” award by Government of India for “Mission Possible” – Under this, 1107 villages were declared ODF by constructing 75000 IHHLs in 100 days in Kolar District.
  • “DARPAN” award for Udupi and Dakshina Kannada Districts.
  • Karnataka bagged the first prize in “SWACHHATHON 1.0”
  • Several ZPs, TPs, GPs have been awarded by the Government of Karnataka for attaining ODF status
  • “Swachha Sarvekshan Gramin – 2018” award for Karnataka
  • “SBSI – 2018”, 1st position at National level award to NYKS club, Cherkadi Udupi District.

Current Status in Karnataka

With continuous efforts from all government officials, non-official staff, volunteers of various organizations, activists and private agencies, either directly or indirectly, Karnataka has achieved 99.73 % sanitation coverage. The 5 districts of Belagavi, Vijayapura, Raichur, Bidar and Tumakuru are yet to be declared ODF.


The Government of Karnataka is now drawing up a communication and outreach strategy for sanitation with relevant IEC and BCC components, to be undertaken on a mission mode basis. The focus is on constant follow up, clear messaging and direct engagement to ensure behavioural change and ultimately sustainable sanitation practices. Karnataka has just a small distance to cover to achieve state-wide ODF status. Focus remains on achieving total, sustainable sanitation, reflected in healthy individual habits and community lifestyles across rural Karnataka.





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