Sikkim, which was recently adjudged the cleanest among 26 states assessed by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, has been investing in cleanliness and hygiene for a long time. The top spot was a result of a multipronged effort since 1999.
In Sikkim, nearly every house has a toilet. Besides, there are plenty of community toilets, and the tiny Himalayan state of 6.10 lakh is India's only open defecation-free state. Sikkim got official recognition for the same in May 2016 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi presentedthe state with a certificate.
The 'Swachh Survekshan Gramin 2016' report is based on the survey of 26 states. The top criterion was having household toilets. Other parameters included no stagnating water, litter or open garbage dumps.
The state government has made it mandatory for any person who wishes to run for Panchayat election to first prove that he or she has a functional toilet at home. No toilet means automatic disqualification. Also, the toilet criterion is mandatory for any person who applies to the government for a loan or grant. A mass and continuous awareness campaign in schools across over 2,000 schools played a crucial role in ensuring that the state is litter-free.
Those who do not have toilets at home make use of community toilets. In fact, in a district-wise assessment, all four of Sikkim's districts were among the top ten clean rural districts in India.