ODF Definition Under Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) Gramin (Rural)

  • The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has adopted a uniform definition of ODF (open defecation free) as:

ODF is the termination of fecal-oral transmission, defined by:

  • (a) No visible feces found in the environment/village; and
  • (b) Every house as well as public/community institutions using safe technology option for disposal of feces.
  • Safe technology option means no contamination of surface soil, groundwater or surface water’ excreta inaccessible to flies or animals; no handling of fresh excreta; and freedom from odour and unsightly condition.
  • The ministry even issued a checklist of 12 parameters for gram panchayats/villages to be declared ODF. 
  • The protocols have been divided into two categories – household survey and village survey.

Factors considered in the Household Survey for ODF declaration:

1. Access to toilet facility

2. 100 per cent usage

3. Fly-proofing of toilet

4. Safe septage disposal

5. Hand-washing before meals

6. Hand-washing with soap after defecation

7. Availability of soap and water in or near the toilet

  • Factors considered in the Village Survey for ODF declaration:

8. No visible faeces found in the environment/village

9. Proper usage of school toilet

10. Safe confinement of excreta in school toilet

11. Proper usage of anganwadi toilet

12. Safe confinement of excreta in anganwadi toilet

  • For a village to be ODF, answers to the household survey questions 1 to 4 and village survey questions 8 to 12 need to be ‘yes’. 

ODF Definition for Urban India

  • A city/ward is notified as ODF city/ward if, at any point of the day, not a single person is found defecating in the open.

To declare a city or ward ODF, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has listed out some necessary infrastructure and regulatory conditions to be achieved, which are:

1. All households that have space to construct a toilet, have constructed one.

2. All occupants of those households that do not have space to construct toilet have access to a community toilet within a distance of 500 meters.

3. All commercial areas have public toilets within a distance of 1 kilometer.

4. Details of all Individual household toilets (IHHL) constructed from 2011 onwards will have to mandatorily be uploaded on the SBM Urban portal

5. Pictures of all functional community and public toilets in the city, irrespective of the date of construction, will have to mandatorily be uploaded on the SBM Urban portal.


  • A city, ward or work circle could be declared ODF+ if, “at any point of the day, not a single person is found defecating and/or urinating in the open, and all community and public toilets are functional and well-maintained.”


  • The ODF++ protocol adds the condition that “faecal sludge/septage and sewage is safely managed and treated, with no discharging and/or dumping of untreated faecal sludge/septage and sewage in drains, water bodies or open areas.”

Water PLUS Protocol 

  • Reiterating its commitment to the cause, the Ministry of Urban Development also launched the Water PLUS Protocol.
  • Moving beyond ODF, ODF+ and ODF++, the Water PLUS protocol aims to provide a guideline for cities and towns to ensure that no untreated wastewater is released into the environment thereby enabling sustainability of the sanitation value chain. 
  • This year, the citizen-centric focus has been enhanced substantially through verification of the progress made by cities on Swachhata through direct responses from citizens. 

Prerak Dauur Samman Awards

  • The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) announced a new category of awards titled ‘Prerak Dauur Samman’ as part of Swachh Survekshan 2021.
  • The Prerak Dauur Samman has a total of five additional sub- categories -Divya (Platinum), Anupam (Gold), Ujjwal (Silver), Udit (Bronze), Aarohi (Aspiring) - with top three cities being recognized in each. 
  • In a departure from the present criteria of evaluating cities on ‘population category’, this new category will categorize cities on the basis of six select indicator wise performance criteria which are as follows:
  • Segregation of waste into Wet, Dry and Hazard categories
  • Processing capacity against wet waste generated
  • Processing and recycling of wet and dry waste
  • Construction & Demolition (C&D) waste processing
  • Percentage of waste going to landfills
  • Sanitation status of cities