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Waste Management in Urban Areas an Important Agenda for the Govt: NITI Aayog

Parameswaran Iyer, CEO of NITI Aayog said, "Behavioral change is at the heart of all the programs including Swachh Bharat Mission, Jal Jeevan Mission, Conserve Water, etc. towards sanitation and managing solid and liquid waste management. We also have set up a Behavior Insights Unit in the Aayog which focuses on behavioral change and tries to mainstream into all government programs."

Ayushi Sikarwar
Parameswaran Iyer
Parameswaran Iyer, CEO of NITI Aayog (File Image)

The management of solid and liquid waste remains a top priority for the government, particularly in metropolitan areas, said Parameswaran Iyer, CEO of NITI Aayog on Friday.

Working with the business sector as well as other stakeholders in the urban region is crucial. The NITI Aayog is working to move this along in collaboration with all stakeholders, he continued.

While addressing the 2nd day of the sixth ISC-FICCI Sanitation Awards & India Sanitation Conclave, Iyer said that "Behavioral change is at the heart of all the programs including Swachh Bharat Mission, Jal Jeevan Mission, Conserve Water, etc. towards sanitation and managing solid and liquid waste management. We also have set up a Behavior Insights Unit in the Aayog which focuses on behavioral change and tries to mainstream into all government programs."

He said that a number of state governments, including those in Odisha, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, etc., are playing a significant role in the management of solid and liquid waste.

"This is an agenda which needs to be promoted very aggressively and we, at NITI Aayog, are working with the state governments along with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to take the agenda of wastewater treatment forward", he noted.

Iyer further added, "Increasingly there is a realization that we need to have more and more decentralized options in municipal wastewater management. We have big wastewater treatment plants, high technology and energy intensive sequential batch reactors, etc. but now we have to look at a more decentralized model and they both need to go together."

In order to better reach out to states, he also urged the India Sanitation Coalition to work with NITI Aayog and the state governments. We have launched the State Support Mission, where we are concentrating on giving state governments technical assistance so they can assess the demands of the state as they strive to achieve an inclusive high growth trajectory, he said.

"There is a huge trend towards urbanization, and it is going to be the key. By 2047, more than 50 per cent of the country will be living in urban areas. If we don’t have basic services in urban and peri-urban areas, then it is going to be a big challenge. Taking solid and liquid waste management forward, both the state governments and urban local bodies will play a critical role in this", he said.

Self-Help Groups (SHGs) play an important role in trash management, according to Iyer, who noted that many states have embraced the SHG movement wholeheartedly. "SHGs have a definite role in several development sectors, including sanitation and the management of both solid and liquid waste," he continued.

Naina Lal Kidwai, Chair India Sanitation Coalition and Natasha Patel, CEO India Sanitation Coalition were also present at the event.

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