Thursday, October 21, 2021

Mashelkar to chair expert panel on Modi’s ‘Swachh Bharat’

New Delhi, Sep 15 (IANS) Scientist Raghunath Anant Mashelkar, former director general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, has been named the chair of an expert panel to recommend best technologies for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Swachh Bharat” national sanitation campaign.

The 19-member expert committee has been asked to examine best technologies on sanitation and water so that they can be scaled up on a sustainable basis in various states — with affordability, sustainability, scalability and quality as the main criteria.

The terms of reference include achieving Prime Minister Modi’s “Swachh Bharat” goals by 2019, with an emphasis on areas like potable water and sanitation, while also examining the environmental impact of each technology compared with its uses, officials said.

Ahead of naming the committee, Modi had invited ideas from people at large on the design of Mission Swachh Bharat, and announced that the programme will be launched Oct 2, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.

“Mission Swachh Bharat aspires to realise Gandhiji’s dream of a clean India through ‘jan bhagidari’ (people’s participation). Together, we can make a big difference,” Modi said in a tweet Friday.

“Please share your inputs in making ‘Mission Swachh Bharat’ a success and laying the foundations of a ‘Clean India’ on,” the prime minister said.

The committee has also been asked to examine the uses of these technologies in different agro-climatic zones in the country, and also suggest what non-technological innovations will be needed in terms of policy and fiscal measures, to put them in effective use.

The committee has also been asked to recommend innovative ways by which all stake-holders — government, utilities, service providers, non-profits and other institutions — can be roped in to create a powerful network to deliver the larger objective.

“Technology innovation is only one piece of the puzzle,” said a communique on the terms of reference, also calling upon the members to use the social media extensively to get ideas and inputs from all stakeholders.

“The committee should provide recommendations on what non-technological innovations will be needed so that, not only toilets are built on a massive scale, but they are used on a massive scale.”

Members include Anand Sekhar of Global Sanitation Fund, H.S. Shankar of IIT-Mumbai, G. Vasdeo of NARDEP, Markand Phadke of Reliance Innovation Leadership Centre, Jayesh Patel of Safai Mahavidyalaya, Satish Wate of NEERI and Vinay Sahasrabhuddhe of Public Policy Research Centre.

These panel also includes senior officials from the ministry of drinking water and sanitation, and representatives from the state governments of Gujarat and Maharashtra. Rajesh Kumar, director for water in the central nodal ministry, is member secretary.

The members are due to convene here Sep 20 for their first meeting.

Mashelkar, who said his appointment in the committee was a special privilege, presently overseas the Global Research Alliance — a network of publicly funded institutes from the Asia-Pacific, South Africa, Europe and the US with over 60,000 scientists.

He was conferred with the Padma Shri in 1991, Padma Bhushan in 2000 and Padma Vibhushan earlier this year.

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