What’s the “biggest story in the world you have not heard about”? Happening in India right now

“The biggest global story you haven’t heard about right now is India’s sanitation drive,” according to my friends at FUTURE CRUNCH. See https://futurecrun.ch/ 

Since 2014, 90 million toilets have been built, 93% of households now have access, and 500 million people have stopped defecating in the open.

This is change on a massive scale – but not such a big story for the short concentration span of the major media.


Pictured – Indian Prime Minister Modi launches the program in 2014

The government claims that since its Swachh Bharat Mission programme started in October 2014, 500 million people have stopped defecating in the open, down from 550 million at the beginning of the programme to less than 50 million today. Over 90 million toilets have been built across rural India under the Mission. 615 districts have been declared ODF, along with 30 ODF States and Union Territories, as per the government.

“A clean India would be the best tribute India could pay to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150-birth anniversary in 2019,” said Shri Narendra Modi, Indian Prime Minister, as he launched the Swachh Bharat Mission at Rajpath in New Delhi.


The Independent Verification Agency has presented their findings to the Expert Working Group (EWG) constituted for oversight of the survey, comprising representatives from organizations including the World Bank, UNICEF, Water Aid, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, India Sanitation Coalition, NITI Aayog, and Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation.

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan or Swachh Bharat Mission is a nation-wide campaign in India for the period 2014 to 2019 that aims to provide sanitation, clean up the streets, roads and infrastructure of India’s cities, towns, and rural areas. The campaign’s official name is in Hindi and translates to “Clean India Mission” in English.

It is India’s largest cleanliness drive to date with three million government employees and students from all parts of India participating in 4,041 cities, towns, and rural areas.

Do you agree this could be the biggest story in the world today that you have not heard about?

Author: Stephen Manallack

Former President, Australia India Business Council, Victoria and Author, You Can Communicate; Riding the Elephant; Soft Skills for a Flat World (published by Tata McGraw-Hill INDIA); Communicating Your Personal Brand. Director, EastWest Academy Pty Ltd and Trainer/Speaker/Mentor in Leadership, Communication and Cross Cultural Communication. Passionate campaigner for closer western relations with India. Stephen Manallack is a specialist on “Doing Business with India” and advisor/trainer on “Cross-Cultural Understanding”. He is a Director of EastWest Academy Pty Ltd which provides strategic advice and counsel regarding business relations with India. A regular speaker in India on leadership and global communication, his most recent speaking tour included a speech to students of the elite Indian university, Amity University, in Noida. He also spoke at a major Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) global summit, the PR Consultants Association of India in Delhi, the Symbiosis University in Pune and Cross-Cultural Training for Sundaram Business Services in Chennai. He has visited India on business missions on 10 occasions and led three major trade missions there. He provides cross-cultural training – Asia and the west.

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