Exploring rural-urban linkages for FSSM services in Maharashtra
India has made unprecedented gains in improving access to sanitation after the launch of Swachch Bharat Mission. Expectedly, the increase in toilet usage has led to an urgent need for faecal sludge and septage management (FSSM) especially among rural areas to achieve SDG 6.2. According to the NARS 2018, 34% of all rural toilets are connected to septic tanks without soak pits, 19% are connected to single pits, while only 3% are connected to tanks with soak pits. Nearly. The dependence on septic tanks steadily increases on going from villages to largely and densely populated villages (LDVs) further to census towns. Therefore, the demand for FSSM shows a clear pattern in relation to the rural characteristics and its proximity to urban areas – creating an opportunity for graded FSSM interventions in rural areas. In Maharashtra nearly 175 cities are providing faecal sludge emptying services to its nearby villages. But the treatment part of the sanitation chain is not catered in rural areas that may lead to unsafe management of FS. By optimum utilization of the urban sanitation infrastructure. Conversely, in urban areas sanitation treatment facilities are underutilized. Thus, there is a need for urban rural FSSM convergence model that leverages urban infrastructure for the delivery of FSSM services to the adjacent rural areas. It could maximizes the use of the investment made in sanitation and highlights the importance of evolving new governance models in transcending administrative silos to create more efficient pathways and rapidly scalable shifts to safely managed sanitation.