The Swachh Bharat toilet locator app is another example which proves that necessity is the mother of invention.
The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was flagged off on 2nd October 2014, by the Prime Minister, to work towards a clean India. While building toilets is a major focus of this campaign, it is important that they are accessible to all in that region.
Birth Of An Idea
The app was developed by Vipul Ujwal and his wife Sonali Giri from the 2009 IAS batch. Vipul Ujwal recalls, “My wife wanted to use the washroom and we simply couldn’t find one. That’s when it struck us that there is a need for the government to release an app which gives detailed information.”
In January 2015, Vipul Ujwal, then a municipal commissioner of Moga (Punjab), and his wife Sonali Giri, then an additional deputy commissioner of Faridkot (Punjab), were unable to find a single clean toilet at one of Delhi’s most frequented areas – Connaught Place. That’s when the idea of the Swachh Bharat Toilet Locator app took birth.
The couple took four months to develop the app which helps the user locate a public toilet in a given area. Finding data of available toilets was the next milestone to be covered.
They were backed by their batchmates from Institute of Management Studies (Bikaner) – Neeraj Sharma and Rajeev Mathur. The IAS couple approached the municipal sanitary inspectors for information on the location of all the 600 toilets across the urban centres in Punjab and mapped them into the app.
Their project received a major boost when the Union Urban Development Ministry showed interest in adopting the app. The couple was asked to amplify the usability of the app by uploading 50,000 locations from across the country.
Features Of The App
The app does more than just locate a toilet in the vicinity. The other features include:
- Verification, images, and description of the toilets
- Gender-specific search
- User ratings on hygiene, infrastructure, and safety
- Cleanliness reports based on user reviews
- Style of toilet – Indian or Western
- Availability of seats for the differently abled
- Availability of sanitary pad dispensers
Monitoring Toilet Maintenance
The app helps monitor the condition of the toilet. If the user ratings fall or if the ratings are poor, the respective urban local bodies will be flagged by the app. They will then take appropriate steps to make the toilets clean.
The app is interactive and its success depends on the participation of the citizens. Everyone using it adds value to the initiative by physically verifying and reviewing toilets. This helps fellow users find clean toilets accordingly.
The Next Big Step
The Swachh Bharat Toilet Locator app is an independent toilet locator app by the Ministry of Urban Development. There are plans to collaborate with Google Toilet Locator to multiply its reach.
The use of the app will avoid the embarrassment of defecating in the open. It marks another milestone in the Swachh Bharat campaign.
Source: The Better India