Sanitation in India has got unprecedented political attention. With time, increased resources have been allocated in the government plans and budgets. The Government of India has taken up different initiatives (Central Rural Sanitation Program, Total Sanitation Programme, Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan, etc.) and over the years, has invested on spreading awareness and building sanitation-related infrastructure, but these initiatives have not yielded results as envisaged for various reasons. Different studies over time (like Report of Sub-Group of Chief Ministers on Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, October 2015) have pressed upon the need to bring about behavioural change amongst the people in the attitude they have towards water and sanitation, in addition to provisioning of infrastructure, to address the challenges India faces in the WASH sector. Various steps have been taken in this regard, like, mass awareness programmes through radios/television, community outreach, etc. One such medium for imparting training, awareness & education has been the sanitation park and water technology park, which in the last two decades, have emerged across many states in India. Such efforts of generating public awareness are usually targeted towards the rural populace in the past, though off late these are targeted towards urban areas also. However, these have had limited effect. There is thus a need to create an innovation-supporting integrated WASH knowledge disseminating centre to address different issues highlighted above, in a holistic manner.
The proposed WASH Park (in each pilot city) shall be a combination of knowledge & tourist hub, imparting information on various aspects and technologies in the field of water, sanitation & hygiene, by engaging visitors through interactive means. The purpose is to change the perception of people towards toilets: from a bad dirty stinking place to an amusing place for experiencing a natural process. It shall impress upon the need for action by both urban and rural communities, for water security, better health and hygiene, and also engage them in the sanitation planning process in the two areas. The Park shall also act as a space for intellectual exchange, business and recreational activities (all related to WASH), to make it a self-sustainable innovation-led model.