Posted in August 2016, Uncategorized

Swatch Bharat Mission & NGOs

Sometime back Swatch Bharat mission announced ‘Things NGO’s can do for Swatch Bharat’.

To me the 20 announced things appeared jumbled up, non-clear, non-serious and rough work.  I have divided the 20 points in four categories to make more sense of SBM’s exercise. Under each category I have given my analysis and critique.


1st Category (Solid Waste Management)

  1. NGOs can take up the task of educating the people of India about keeping their surroundings clean.

2 NGOs could adopt certain areas/colonies and take the responsibility of keeping them clean

  1. NGOs can set up and monitor waste management systems.
  2. NGOs can make house visits and ensure that people understand proper sanitation and garbage disposal techniques.
  3. They could also visit schools to teach the kids the importance of cleanliness in their daily lives.
  4. NGOs can also facilitate workshops on how to recycle and reuse non-biodegradable wastes into livelihood programs.
  5. NGO’s can be asked to put up small-scale units for collecting garbage and sorting it into different components for processing.
  6. NGO’s can be authorized to collect money from houses and use it to arrange for segregation and separation of waste.
  7. NGO’s can help societies, colonies setting up unit for decomposing wet waste, water harvesting etc.


My comments-

According to SBM NGO’s can primarily educate, who then is going to implement – SBM /Municipalities/ Multinationals??????????

NGO’s can adopt an area (does it mean legally)????????

NGO’s can help decompost (let the waste decay/rot)?????????????????

I do not understand SBM! The use of the word ‘decomposting’ whom’s dictionary meaning is rotting, decaying. —–. Wet waste decomposes on its own causing stench and diseases. On the other hand when wet waste is composted instead of stench and diseases we get cleanliness and compost.

What SBM is aiming has already been done by NGO’s of the country in different pockets .As an example Vatavaran, which started garbage management when it was not fashionable to be talking about ‘cleanliness’. We have been doing it since early 90’s. Its tag lines for last 20 years have been ‘Garbage dumps to flower beds’ and ‘Towards Zero garbage areas’. Its inspiration has been Gandhi so in our work at grass root level manpower is supreme. This is quite unlike SBM where Gandhi is being used on paper but his thinking /practices/ sayings are not followed. Otherwise SBM would mention it in its philosophy. Vatavaran has practically created Zero Garbage Areas without motorized vehicles or any plants. No waste ever went to any landfill sites. We converted garbage dumping area to a green, attractive area where besides composting trees, potted plants, organically grown vegetables and a earthy hut with seating area around made it picturesque and pleasant. Where the knowledgeable and politically motivated wanted to come.

Has Swatch Bharat Mission ever recognized such efforts / best practices? No! Why?

Vatavaran’s earth friendly work area visited by Environmentalists, Chief & Private Secretaries of CM.


swachh baharat.jpg


swachh bharat.png

Manpower and community involvement our pillars &non-motorized cycles our transport vehicles. 




2nd Category  (for Government Organized Non Government Organization’s)


  1. NGO’s can ensure people’s participation in Swachh Bharat and put pressure on ULBs to act.


  1. Some NGOs could play a role in highlighting the importance of SBM to housewives, shopkeepers and small business owners


  1. NGOs can also do third party quality checks of infrastructure being created under SBM and also do sample verification on a pre-determined checklist.


  1. NGOs could work closely with the municipality to execute a daily cleaning plan in the area.


  1. NGO’s can submit survey reports on Swachh Bharat Mission; they may be allocated areas to carry out surveys independently substantiated with videos and pictures on the basis of MOUs between the NGO and the monitoring authority.


  1. NGOs can also be given access to the Swachh Bharat city local circles to share community initiatives with citizens and mobilize citizens to help where necessary.

My comments

Is SBM trying to convert NGO’s to GONGO’s? Once again my example would be Vatavaran. It never took any funds from the government. Its mission was to be self-reliant. It took bold steps, exposed wrongs; helped communities received love and respect from them.

If SBM wants NGO’s to become their rubber stamp Vatavaran refuses to do that. We are not Government Organized Non Government Organization.


3rd Category (For Rural India)


  1. NGOs could help in building toilets in rural areas
  2. NGOs can be assigned the task of building and maintaining public toilets
  3. NGOs dealing with heath care delivery could have a tremendous role in the area of personal hygiene, optimum use of potable water, basic sanitation etc.

My Comments

I do not have first hand experience about toilets in rural areas but hope that local Ngo’s working at grass root level are being recognized and given more responsibility and more GONGO’s are not being created.


4th Category  (Chosen Few)

  1. Certain NGOs can also conduct research on specific areas to scientifically dispose wastes, improved toilets, improved composting processes etc.

2.NGOs should be allowed funding for cleanliness drives and other Swachh Bharat related activities.

My Comments

These are special NGO’s who bail the government out of sticky situations and now are being rewarded.

Final Words

Is it not essential that Swatch Bharat Mission not become a vehicle to promote big businesses and concentrate on Gandhi’s philosophy and Ghanaian way of working as Vatavaran has proven to be the right path for India?


Dr. Ms. Iqbal Malik

Vatavaran logo
Founder & Director




Vatavaran is a small organization that has decided that it simply must be hands on about the betterment of the world around us. We’re not sitting here for one issue or the other, but for fighting things that bother us in our everyday lives. Basically - we’re determined to make a difference. At the moment, we're working with Solid Waste Management, Water Conservation, our patented Recycling Scheme (WERMS), and e-waste recycling. Join us - we do hands-on work, we do simple and applicable work. We're not fancy, we're not big, we're not famous. We're just working. If you have an idea that you thing deserves to be applied in our daily lives to make a difference, come work with us. At Vatavaran, you lead your own project. It's autonomous work - your idea, your responsibility. We're just the vessel. Because we're cool like that.

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