India Today - - SAFAI GIRI -

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

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