In a boost to implementation of Swachh Bharat Mission in urban areas, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Bill and Milinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) have agreed to provide assistance in the critical areas of capacity building of implementing agencies including urban local bodies, technology transfer, technical support, sharing of best sanitation practices and implementation and monitoring. To this effect, USAID has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Urban Development while BGMF signed a Memorandum of Cooperation. These Memoranda were signed in pursuance of the agreements reached during the Summit meeting between Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and US President Shri Barak Obama in September last year.
Speaking on the occasion, Venkaiah Naidu said that more than funds, changing mindsets of the people towards safe sanitation practices and capacity building of implementing agencies are the key issues to ensure a Clean India.
The USAID will assist in knowledge exchange and identification and sharing of best practices for water and sanitation services aimed at effective knowledge transfer enabling more rapid delivery of services. State and City level implementation staff will be provided with necessary skills and incentives to deliver results under Swachh Bharat Mission and National Urban Development Mission for 500 cities and towns.
Performance indicators and city ranking systems will be introduced for incentivizing participation in Swachh Bharat Mission and triggering competition between cities. USAID will provide a broad spectrum technical support to demonstrate a fully functional sanitation system encompassing containment, collection, transport, treatment, reuse and safe disposal of fecal waste in Visakhapatnam.
The USAID will assist in creating a profile consumer behavior and identify behavior changes relating to purchase of toilets and related services besides developing targeted and creative messaging for behavior changes to increase demand for toilets and supply of sanitation products and services. USAID will assist state governments in creating supporting regulatory environment for service providers for operation and maintenance of community and public toilets.
The USAID is likely to spend about US $ 2 million per year on these activities.
The BMGF will provide technical and management support and assistance in the implementation of the Mission and fund National Level Program Management Unit for coordination of decentralized and non-sewered sanitation solutions.
The Foundation will also assist in capacity building for planning, project preparation, implementation and management through training and skill development focusing on towns with population of one to five lakhs located along the Ganga river at a cost of US $ 2.50 million per year.