"Total Sanitation campaign" (TSC) is almost a decade old now. A lot has been planned ,a lot has been said and a lot has happened. Subsidy / incentive distributed, rewards have been given and not to speak of posters, banners and leaflets printed stored and distributed as part of the strategy to motivate people (that too in a country which ran a countrywide literacy campaign ) . Rural households have been lured,cajoled, threatened and what not.Toilets have been built at times on paper. A mad race of competing with each other with number of toilets built has become a new trend in the official corridors. Targets and figures and achievements are flaunted by all and sundry .
The results have been remarkably different and merit a discussion on how those were achieved. If one goes by the official data the states of Maharashtra,Himachal Pradesh,Haryana and Sikkim and Kerala have been the states which have coverage figures ranging between 80-100% .All other states are behind these front runners.
Incidentally these are the states ( barring Kerala) which have adopted community led approaches to rural sanitation known as the pathbreaking "CLTS" approach.
Maharastra has been the first state in the country to try out the CLTS approach and the results have been remarkable with the state winning more numbers of NGP each year since its introduction. If we go back a little bit, till the year 2006 Himachal Pradesh(HP) and Haryana were considered as laggards and were far below the current percentage. In addition HP had no Open defecation Free Village during the first quarter of 2006. The case of Haryana was more or less same. CLTS was introduced in the year 2006 in both the states and rest is history as they say. The success in these states (HP,Maharashtra,Haryana and Sikkim) comprises not only the increase in coverage of IHHL but also increase in number of villages where no one defecates in the open. Apart from these states some districts of Meghalaya are also showing remarkable progress after adopting CLTS i.e the Jaintia Hills, East Garo Hills and West Garo Hills.
The CLTS has demonstrated its efficacy in these states where there is a policy recognition of the approach and many in the policy making positions both at centre and other states have unofficially acknowledged it . But still CLTS has not been given the wider policy recognition which is needed for scaling up country wide.
Is it becos of bureaucratic stubbornness?
What ever it may be it remindes me of one story we used to study under the subject "English" in the class 4th curriculum. The story was about an almost blind old man searching for his spectacles. The interesting part was that the man was wearing his spectacles while searching for it.