<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>India has strongly objected to the serious insensitivity shown by Leo Heller, the United Nations Special Rapporteur, with his ‘lens’ remark against the Swachh Bharat mission.Referring to the logo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship initiative, Heller today said, “Now is a critical time to replace the lens of those glasses (Mahatma Gandhi’s glasses) with the human rights lens.”Reacting to the comment, the Centre said that world knows that the Mahatma Gandhi was the foremost proponent of human rights, including for sanitation, his unique and special focus. The glasses of ‘Father of the Nation’, the unique logo of the Swachh Bharat Mission, epitomise core human rights principles.The UNSR on human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation undertook a visit to India from 27 October to 10 November 2017. UNSR alleged that human rights principles have not been properly addressed in India’s water and sanitation programmes.In a statement, the Central Government strongly rejected his mostly baseless assertions and reiterated that the Swachh Bharat Mission and the rural and urban drinking water programmes fully conform to the Human Rights Criteria and Principles (as established by the UN system) as listed below.Referring to the incomplete understanding of water and sanitation in India, the statement says that the UNSR has failed to acknowledge the paradigm shift in national sanitation policy, which has moved from construction of toilets to open defecation free communities and seems to be looking at the SBM from a tinted lens.The Centre argues that he also attempts to question the findings of a third party, 1,40,000 household national survey by the Quality Council of India that usage of toilets was above 91 per cent, by misleadingly comparing it with a survey of only 1,024 households by Water Aid which focused on toilet technology and not on usage.Regarding the allegation about the lack of toilets in government schools, the UNSR’s claim citing a report by a private organisation is denied.The UNSR also claims that there is inadequate attention and funds for water supply, whereas the reality is that since the launch of the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) in 2009, Rs 1,20,000 Crore has been invested by Centre and States on into rural drinking water, and Rs 40,000 Crore has been invested by the Central Government on urban water supply since 2005.The government called the report inaccurate, sweeping and biased. Centre says that it is committed to to human rights in general and particularly in the water supply and sanitation sectors and strongly rejects the claims in the UNSR’s report and press statements.
Originally posted here: