Truth about Swachh Vidyalaya Abhiyan: 40% of toilets non-existent, unused in govt schools

Agencies
September 25, 2020

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New Delhi, Sept 25: As part of a Right to Education project, Public sector units have claimed to have constructed 1.4 lakh toilets in government schools. But in a survey by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) almost 40% were found to be non-existent, partially constructed, or unused, reported The Hindu.

On Wednesday, in an audit report presented in Parliament, CAG said over 70% did not have running water facilities in the toilets, while 75% were not being maintained hygienically.

In September 2014, Ministry of Human Resource Development had launched Swachh Vidyalaya Abhiyan to meet the Right to Education Act’s mandate that all schools must have separate toilets for boys and girls.

There are around 10.8 lakh government schools across the country. Overall, more than 1.4 lakh toilets were built by 53 central public sector enterprises (CPSEs).

The audit by CAG conducted a physical survey of a sample of 2,695 toilets built by these companies in 15 States.

In the survey, CAG found out that CPSEs identified but did not construct 83. Another 200 toilets were reported to be constructed, but were non-existent, while 86 toilets were only partially constructed.

Another 691 toilets “were found not in use mainly due to lack of running water, lack of cleaning arrangements, damages to the toilets and other reasons like use of toilets for other purposes, toilets locked up, etc,” said the audit report.

99 schools had no functional toilets while 436 had only one functional toilet, out of the 1,967 co-educational schools surveyed.

It means that the objective of providing separate toilets for boys and girls was not fulfilled in 27% of the schools, said CAG.

To effectively change the behaviour of students, the project norms required the CPSEs to build toilets with running water and hand washing facilities, and to maintain the toilets for three to five years while charging the annual expenses to their CSR budgets.

The survey has found that 72% of constructed toilets had no running water facilities inside, while 55% had no hand washing facilities at all. The audit also noticed “cases of defective construction of toilets, non-provision of foundation/ramp/staircase and damaged/overflowed leach pit, which led to ineffective use of toilets,” read the report.

75% of toilets did not follow the norm for daily cleaning at least once a day. The survey found that 715 toilets were not being cleaned at all, while 1,097 were being cleaned with a frequency of twice a week to once a month. “Cases of non-provision of soap, bucket, cleaning agents and disinfectants in toilets and inadequate cleanliness of pathway were also noticed,” said the report.

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News Network
October 27,2020

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Agra, Oct 27: A video has gone viral showing Hindu Jagran Manch leaders hoisting saffron flag within the premises of Taj Mahal in Uttar Pradesh’s Agra on Sunday. The Central Industrial Security Force personnel let the activists go after brief questioning.

As per district president of Hindu Jagran Manch youth wing, Gaurav Thakur, he along with two other people – Manvendra Singh and Vishesh, entered Taj Mahal from the eastern gate after buying a ticket at around 12 noon. He claimed to have filled ganga jal in a water bottle and kept the folded saffron flag in his pocket.  

They had a selfie stick with them. When they entered into the premises, they reportedly sprinkled ganga jal and hoisted the saffron flag. Meanwhile, the CISF personnel interrupted them and took them to their office.

After noting down their names, addresses and other details, the Hindu Jagran Manch activists were told that such activities were banned in Taj Mahal. According to Hindustan, Gaurav Thakur then contended that namaaz is read in the monument.

He further said that they had come to Tejo Mahalaya to offer puja. The trio were finally let off after an hour of interrogation.

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News Network
October 22,2020

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New Delhi, Oct 22: As Indian government has almost lifted all restrictions imposed earlier to contain Covid-19 pandemic, it has now decided to make a “graded relaxation in the visa and travel restrictions”.

Under the relief, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will now extend these relaxations for more categories of foreign nationals and Indian nationals who wish to enter or leave India.

This graded relaxation will restore with “immediate effect” all existing visas except electronic visa, tourist visa and medical visa.

Foreign nationals intending to visit India for medical treatment can now apply for a medical visa, including for their medical attendants.

This decision will enable foreign nationals to come to India for various purposes such as business, conferences, employment, studies, research and medical purposes — a move to kick start the economy and other sectors affected due to pandemic as restrictions were imposed on the visit of foreigners.

In view of the situation arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry had taken a series of steps to curtail the inward and outward movement of international passengers since February this year.

Therefore, the MHA — a nodal Ministry which has the authority to give visa and foreign travel approvals — has now decided to permit all Overseas Citizenship Of India (OCI) and Person of Indian Origin (PIO) card holders and all other foreign nationals intending to visit India for any purpose, except on a tourist visa to enter by air or water routes through authorised airports and seaport immigration check posts.

This includes flights operated under the Vande Bharat Mission, Air Transport Bubble arrangements or by any non scheduled commercial flights as allowed by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

All such travellers will, however, have to strictly adhere to the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHF) regarding quarantine and other health and Covid-19 matters.

If the validity of such visas has expired, fresh visas of appropriate categories can be obtained from the Indian Missions or Posts concerned, the Ministry said.

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News Network
October 22,2020

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Patna, Oct 22: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday released its manifesto for three-phased Bihar elections and promised that after the approval of the coronavirus vaccine from ICMR, every person in the State will get vaccinated free of cost.

"In the fight against coronavirus, the NDA government has set an example in the country. It is our resolution that as soon as the vaccine will be approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), every person in the State will be vaccinated," the manifesto said.

Union Finance Minister and BJP leader Nirmala Sitharaman released the party's manifesto.

"As soon as COVID-19 vaccine will be available for production at a mass scale every person in Bihar will get free vaccination. This is the first promise mentioned in our poll manifesto," Sitharaman said.

The senior BJP leader said that Bihar is one State where all citizens are politically sensitive and well informed.

"They know and understand the promises a party makes. If anyone raises questions on our manifesto, we can answer them with confidence as we fulfill what we promised," she added.

Sitharaman said that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Bihar has seen a sharp rise under the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) rule, it has grown from 3 per cent to 11.3 per cent in the State in the last 15 years of NDA govt and not during the 15 years of jungle raj.

"It was made possible because our government gave priority to good governance for people. Only 34 per cent eligible got pucca house in Lala Yadav's 15 years tenure. But in the last 15 years, 96 per cent of eligible people got the pucca house," she said.

Appealing to all voters in the State to vote for NDA and make it win, Sitharaman said, "Nitish Kumar will be the Chief Minister of Bihar for the next 5 years. Under his rule, Bihar will become a progressive and developed state of India."

The election document was unveiled by Union Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and senior leaders Bhupender Yadav, Nityanand Rai, Ashwini Choubey, and Pramod Kumar. Union minister and Patna Sahib MP Ravi Shankar Prasad and other BJP leaders were also present at the event.

The manifesto comes a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi hits the campaign trail. The BJP's manifesto speaks about the Prime Minister's vision of making 'Atmanirbhar Bihar'.

Major political parties of Bihar are busy wooing voters and releasing manifesto for the Assembly polls which is going to be conducted in Bihar in three phases and counting will take place on November 10.

The BJP is contesting the Bihar election in alliance with Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United). The JD(U) is contesting on 122 seats and BJP on 121 in the 243-member state Assembly.

The 'Mahagathbandhan' - an alliance of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Congress and Left parties has already released its manifesto.

The Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) led by Chirag Paswan released its manifesto on Wednesday for Bihar Assembly poll in Patna.

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