School toilet scheme: Modi wants hurdles removed

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday asked officials to “expeditiously” remove bottlenecks in construction of school toilets across the country, while reviewing the Swachh Vidyalaya Programme.

He directed Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth and officer on special duty in the Cabinet Secretariat P K Sinha to “personally” review the figures of toilets constructed and under construction, being reported from various parts of the country so that any bottlenecks in the “full implementation of the vision of Swachh Vidyalaya initiative can be removed expeditiously,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

“Observing specifically the gaps in implementation of the targets accepted by some PSUs and some private sector entities, the Prime Minister directed that these be looked into, so that these organisations can also meet their targets within the stipulated timeframe,” it added.

Based on the available data, the Prime Minister noted that several states were already close to achieving the hundred per cent target. He directed officials concerned to focus on these states “immediately” to ensure completion of work at the earliest. Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani was also present in the meeting.

 Less than 30 per cent of the 4.19 lakh toilets have so far been constructed in schools, nine months after Modi sought them to be complete by August 15 this year, according to data shared by the Ministry recently.

“A total of 1.21 lakh toilets have so far been constructed, construction of about two lakh toilets are in advanced stage. Rest of the four lakh toilets are in different stages of construction,” the then School Education Secretary Vrinda Swaroop, who was shifted to Food Ministry in recent reshuffle, had told reporters on May 26

Though it seemed unlikely that every school will have a toilet ready by August 15 due to the slow pace of work in various states, Swarup had expressed confidence in achieving the target. The Ministry has mounted pressure on the states for completion of the construction of toilets in all the schools on time under Swachch Vidyalaya programme, setting June 30 as the deadline.

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