The Swachh Bharat campaign has entered the app mode with the launch of the Swachh Bharat Toilet Locater that you can find on the Google Play Store, promising to find you the nearest washrooms to your location and also provide information such as whether the toilet complex is free or paid, whether it carries things such as sanitary pad dispensers and seats for differently abled. Inspired by her recent visit to Delhi where she had trouble locating a clean toilet, the IAS officer Sonali Giri along with her husband and IAS officer Vipul Ujwal have pioneered this rather innovative app. The IAS couple are from the state of Punjab.
The app does not stop there as it lets you rate washrooms in a restaurant style rating system that will help users gauge the hygiene without actually going to the complexes. The app is set to be launched by the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD). This is not the couple’s first innovative idea packaged as an app either. The 37-year-old municipal commissioner of Moga, with his wife, who is an additional district commissioner in Faridkot, also launched the i-vote app during the 2014 General Elections in Punjab. The app carried critical information for voters like directions to the nearest polling booths, a complete list of candidates contesting from their constituency and a comprehensive model code of conduct in addition to a robust complaint mechanism in case of any irregularities.
The launching of the app has been shown as a major step by the Ministry, but the success of the initiative will depend very much on how much the municipalities choose to act on the data collected through the app. It is a generally accepted fact the majority of public restrooms are far from hygienic and in need of repair. The majority of them do not carry water according to independent surveys. The Swachh Bharat Campaign has built over 7 lakh toilets by January 2015 but the need to maintain them will stand out with the launch of this app.