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Swachh Bharat Mission

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Why in the news?

The Prime Minister declared the nation ‘open defecation free’ on Gandhi Jayanti claiming success for the government’s initiative under which every household now apparently has access to a toilet.

What are the achievements of the Swachh Bharat Mission?

  • Swachh Bharat Mission- Gramin has been successful in the construction of 10,07,67,960 toilets since 2 October 2014.
  • 5,99,963 villages in 699 districts have been declared Open Defecation Free (100%)
  • 63.3% of the rural population is practicing SLWM (Solid and Liquid Waste Management).
  • Under Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban 60,01,210 individual household toilets have been constructed in 4,163 urban local bodies (ULBs). 5,48,971 community and public toilets have also been constructed.
  • 79,139 wards in ULBs where 100% door-to-door collection of municipal solid waste is taking place.


What are the challenges that remain?

  • Physical – Ground verification has shown that number of toilets built may be reported in excess by authorities to meet their targets. More independent verification methods need to be put in place to ensure that physical infrastructure is present. Also, several twin-pit toilets have not been constructed properly defeating their purpose of waste management.
  • Social – Due to the lack of proper SLWM, several manual scavengers are still employed, even by the Government even though the practice has been banned. There is also the issue of ‘slip back’, where the people who have started using the toilets may slip back to open defecation based on various internal and external triggers.
  • Environmental – The disposal of waste continues to be a challenge for both rural and urban communities and unplanned disposal can lead to soil, water and air pollution.



India – US Relations

Paper: General Studies 2

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

Why in the news?

  • US officials have urged US allies and partners to forgo transactions with Russia that risk triggering sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). 
  • India has agreed to purchase the Russian S-400 missile defence system in 2018 and the start of the payments for the system could risk sanctions under the CAATSA unless waiver is granted by the US authorities.

What is CAATSA?

CAATSA is a US federal law that imposes sanctions on US’s adverseries and currently includes Iran, North Korea and Russia. It also includes sanctions against countries that engage in significant transactions with the defence and intelligence sectors of these countries.

What is the S-400?

  • It is an air defence missile system that can take down enemies’ aircraft in the sky from the surface itself.
  • The S-400 is known as Russia’s most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system, capable of destroying destroying hostile strategic bombers, jets, missiles and drones at a range of 380-km.
  • India considers it essential for safeguarding its borders against external aerial threats.


C 40 Summit

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment


Why in the news?

  • Chief Minister of Delhi will be among 20 leaders from megacities around the world to launch the ‘Clean Air Cities Declaration’, a set of short and long-term commitments towards cleaning the air, during the C40 Summit in Copenhagen.
  • The Delhi government will endorse the declaration and pledge to reduce emissions and air pollution in a set time frame on October 11 at the Tivoli Conference Centre in Copenhagen. The summit will be held from October 9-12.


What is the C40?

C40 is a network of the world’s megacities committed to addressing climate change. C40 supports cities to collaborate effectively, share knowledge and drive meaningful, measurable and sustainable action on climate change.

  • The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40) is a group of 94 cities around the world that represents one twelfth of the world’s population and one quarter of the global economy. Created and led by cities, C40 is focused on tackling climate change and driving urban action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks, while increasing the health, wellbeing and economic opportunities of urban citizens.
  • Bengaluru, Chennai, Jaipur, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi are part of this network.

C 40 in numbers