An IAS officer in Jorhat district of Assam has found a unique way to realize Swachh Bharat's mission of making India open defecation free by 2019. He mobilizes community participation to donate toilets to those who can't afford to build them. Virendra Mittal, Jorhat's Deputy Commissioner, the man behind Daan Toilet, is teaching people to use toilet by giving them one. Started in 2017, Daan Toilet works towards making people understand the importance of toilets, thus urging the affluent to make donations and the poor to use them. By raising about Rs. 32 lakh from various community members, the initiative has helped construct over 250 toilets so far. It aims to build 1,000 toilets by June this year. Over 30,000 houses in Jorhat were left out by the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan's 2012 baseline survey that identified eligible households for government's Rs. 12,000 toilet-building incentive given to every family. These people therefore couldn't reap the benefits of nationwide cleanliness mission and so Daan Toilet was born, to give them access to basic toilet facilities.
Mittal, a 2007 batch IAS officer, was posted in Jorhat in July 2016. A native of Jaipur, he initiated the project, Open Defecation Free Jorhat, by donating a toilet himself. Soon, other officers and their families followed suit and began donating toilets on special occasions and festivities. Along with personally convincing people to become donor-partners, Mittal also uses social media to spread the message.
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