Karnataka implements rural sanitation policy

In a bold step, the State of Karnataka is the first state to come up with a Sanitation Policy, Strategy, and model By-laws for rural areas.  The policy document and strategy lay the roadmap for ODF Plus which includes management of biodegradable and organic waste, plastic waste, and liquid waste.

Under SBM (G) guidelines, states are required to develop an implementation framework to enable execution of the guidelines bearing in mind state-specific challenges, requirements, and dynamics. As a part of this implementation framework and according to the requirements of SWM Rules 2016 and PWM Rules 2016, the Department has framed a Policy guidance document with strategic vision.  This will drive the systematic implementation of rural sanitation programme and formulate enforcement by-laws detailing applicable regulations for effective execution of the rural sanitation programme with special focus on solid and liquid waste management.

The Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department, Karnataka was able to draft the Karnataka State Rural Sanitation and Waste Management Policy, Strategy and Model Byelaws for SWM and LWM after extensive consultations with water and sanitation experts working in the rural sector, the general public and various stakeholders.

While the policy clearly outlines the objectives, which include guiding principles and approach, long term vision, goals, and timelines to achieve the goals; the strategy describes the holistic approach for attaining the objectives.   The By-laws on the other hand ensure environmental compliance, substantiated with a workable model and approaches for solid and liquid waste management.

Significantly, the state strategy includes guidance on technologies for retrofitting of toilets, solid and liquid waste management, financial resource planning, roles and responsibilities of the different functionaries, information education and communication (IEC) and behaviour change communication (BCC), capacity building, monitoring and evaluation, etc.

The draft documents were vetted by domain experts on policy and regulatory requirements and the revised drafts were hosted on public domain (RDPR website) and notified vide newspaper notification in which 15 days were given to receive written responses from the public.

Concurrence from the Departments of Health and Family Welfare, Primary and Secondary Education, Women and Child Welfare, Social Welfare, Forest, Ecology and Environment, Planning, Finance, Water Resources, Industries and Commerce, Tourism, Cooperation, Law, Revenue, Urban Development, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries was obtained for the final revised draft of “Karnataka State Rural Sanitation and Waste Management Policy, Strategy and Model Byelaws for SWM and LWM-2020” (English and Kannada) which was approved by the State Cabinet on 17th February 2020.

Further, a Government Order (GO) was issued for implementation of Policy and Strategy in all the 6022 GPs on 12th March 2020 and By-laws were published in Gazetteer as per provision of section 316 of Karnataka Panchayath Raj Act on 28th May 2020.

If people adopt this policy, good health and hygiene are guaranteed for the rural community.  The policy plays a pivotal role in establishing a sense of hygiene for today’s children as they are the future citizens.

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