Tata Trusts FOOT SOLDIERS OF CLEAN INDIA
In 2016, when Tata Trusts chairman Ratan Tata announced a programme for skilled young professionals who would work in rural areas with the government, it was also a first step towards making rural areas free of open defecation. Today, around 500 such professionals, designated as Zilla Swachh Bharat Preraks (ZSBP), have brought change to the lives of six million people in 7,000 villages in 26 states. They hope to end open defecation by 2019. The ZSBPs assist the government in strategic planning that includes preparing district cleanliness programmes, creating timebound targets in ‘mission mode’, preparing, monitoring and evaluating protocols,and planning large community-wise interventions. They are trained in programmatic delivery, management skills and on-ground best practices. Almost 35 per cent of them are women and 80 per cent are post-graduates. Most encouraging is the fact that the average age of ZSBPs is 25. More than 18,000 profiles were screened and 4,000 candidates interviewed before 475 ZSBPs were hired and placed in more than 400 rural districts in 26 states. Tata Trusts collaborated with the drinking water and saniation ministry for the mission.
—Kiran D. Tare
CLEAN-UP ACTZilla Swachh Bharat Prerak programme in Imphal