RKMLSP in Sanitation Movement in India

During 1980's Sanitation was not in the prime activity list of the Government's development scenario, but Ramakrishna Mission Lokasiksha Parishad (RKMLSP), Integrated Development Institute of Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama, Narendrapur was directly involved in promotion of rural sanitation programs from that time. Considering the outcomes of successful initiatives of RKMLSP in rural sanitation promotion, Government of West Bengal and UNICEF jointly identified this institute for implementation of experimental project under "Water and Sanitation Decade-1981-90" in the state of West Bengal.

In the year 1989, RKMLSP designed an innovative "Intensive Sanitation Project" (ISP) for undivided Medinipur district, where 1% of Indians live, in collaboration with the UNICEF and Government of West Bengal. The project was launched in March 1990 in the Medinipur district.

Basic features of Medinipur ISP were :-

  • It was a Demand Driven, Community Led and Self Financed sanitation movement.

  • Emphasis was on intensive, area specific and time bound Information Education and Communication (IEC) and Social Mobilization for creation of demand for toilets and adopt the hygiene behaviour by the community as a whole.

  • Youth and Women were in the forefront of the movement.

  • Intensive Capacity Development activities for inculcating positive aptitude and skills for implementation of No subsidy, Community Led and Demand Driven Sanitation for the functionaries of Non-Government Organisations (NGO), Community Based Organisations (CBO), Administration and Panchayati Raj Institutions from district to village level.

  • Initially it was a "No Subsidy" programme for construction of household toilet. Households were contributing entire cost of home toilet. Government of West Bengal introduced an end incentive of Rs.200.00 for BPL families for installation of home toilet from 1994.

  • Demonstration of different affordable technological options in toilet models with up gradation facilities. Six different cost effective household toilet models with a range of costing from Rs.230.00 to 2,600.00 (in 1990) offered to the families for choice.

  • An alternative delivery network was developed by establishing Production Centre cum Sanitary Marts in each block involving Cluster Organizations of RKMLP to facilitate the supply of toilet materials and trained manpower.

  • A network of Grass root level voluntary workers (Sanitation motivator) was developed involving village youth clubs and Gram Panchayats. Incentive of motivators was linked with achievement.

  • For the first time in the country a Voluntary Organization was entrusted to act as Nodal Agency for implementing Sanitation project in a district while the District Administration and Panchayat Raj Institutions were extending the necessary supports in implementation of Sanitation Programme.

  • A systematic weekly monitoring mechanism involving all sectors was developed to monitor the progress and to overcome the shortcomings.

  • This is the first sanitation project, which has been initiated in a Movement-mode for promotion of sanitation in the country.

IEC Materials Developed by RKMLP for Promotion of Sanitation

RKMLP developed different types of Information Education and Communication (IEC) materials to cater to the needs of the programme. The field functionaries of demand driven sanitation programme of Medinipur contributed a lot in development of contents of the materials.

  1. Hand Book on Sanitation for field functionaries (in Bengali & in English).

  2. Question Answer Book on Sanitation for field functionaries.

  3. Flash Cards on Sanitation and Hygiene.

  4. Technical Drawing, Design Book on production & Construction of Sanitation facilities.

  5. Posters on different themes.

  6. Folder on Demand Driven, Community Led and Self Financed Sanitation.

  7. Leaflets on (a) Control of Diarrhoeal Diseases (b) Need for a Toilet in Home.

  8. Audio Cassette with 10 Songs on Sanitation and Safe Water.

  9. Developed three nos. feature based motivational Video Films on Sanitation.
    -  MUKTI

  10. Pictorial Calendar on Sanitation and Hygiene practice.

  11. Banner on different toilet designs and scope of up gradation, hygiene message etc.

  12. Hundreds of Slogan developed by the field implementers, which are still in use in West Bengal.

Demonstrated Nirmal Village concept in 1990

  • Medinipur ISP conceived the "Nirmal Gram" concept and demonstrated first in the country in 1990. 123 villages were declared "Open Defecation Free" (ODF) by the community within 2 years of initiation of the movement.

Replication of Medinipur ISP strategy

  • Observing the success of Medinipur ISP, Government of West Bengal replicated the strategy in 14 Blocks of different districts in West Bengal in 1992-93 financial year. And gradually the strategy was adopted in all districts in West Bengal. At that time all types of technical support was provided from the RKMLSP to Govt. of West Bengal.

  • During reframing the CRSP in 1998, experiences of ISP Medinipur influenced the Government of India to adopt the following strategies in Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) launched in 2000 in the country.
     i)  Sanitation as a movement
     ii)  Community Led and Demand Driven process
     iii)  Low subsidy for basic household toilets
     iv)  Alternative supply chain management system for toilet construction
     v)  Involvement of NGO in program implementation

Achievements in Sanitation movement:-

  • Government of West Bengal and UNICEF jointly recognised two Gram Panchayats "ODF" in 1994.

  • Nandigram - II was the First ODF Block in the country and got recognition of Govt. of West Bengal and UNICEF in 2001.

  • East Medinipur got recognition of ODF district in 2016.

Recognition for sanitation in the country

  • Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India awarded prestigious "Nirmal Gram Puraskar" (Institutional Category) to Ramakrishna Mission Lokasiksha Parishad of Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama, Narendrapur in recognition of its commendable contribution to promotion of rural sanitation programmes in the country. In a function, organised in the Vijyan Bhavan, New Delhi by the Department of Drinking Water Supply, Hon'ble Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam, President of India handed over the award to Swami Asaktananda, the then Secretary of the Ashrama on 23rd March 2006.

  • RKMLSP has been recognised by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India as one of the Key Resource Centre for Sanitation since 2005. Conducted capacity development activities on policy issues, strategy, management process and technology for different stakeholders of sanitation deputed by the Government of West Bengal, Tripura, Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh etc.

  • MDWS, Govt. of India included RKMLSP in the following committees of Central Rural Sanitation Programme.

  • National Scheme Sanctioning Committee for Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) from 2001-2010.

  • National Review Mission for TSC & Swajaldhara Programmes.

  • National Screening Committee for Nirmal Gram Puraskar



Ramakrishna Mission Lokasiksha Parishad of the Ramakrishna Mission Ashram, Narendrapur is one of the biggest rural development institution of Ramakrishna Mission, Belur Math, Howrah

Ramkrishna Mission Loksiksha Parishad
Ramkrishna Mission Ashram
Narendrapur, Kolkata - 700 103, WB, India

(A Branch Centre of Ramakrishna Mission
Belur Math, Howrah, West Bengal - 711202)

Phone : +91 33 24772207, 24770975
E-mail : rkmlspndp@gmail.com , rkmlpndp@gmail.com
Fax : +91 33 24772070

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