New Delhi, Dec 13 (PTI) Xavier Chauvet De Beauchene of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has lauded India's efforts towards river rejuvenation and cleanliness, according to an official statement.

Beauchene, Senior Water and Sanitation Specialist at IBRD, said the bank is very proud of all the work done in India.

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"Who would have thought five years ago that 550 million people will stop defecating in the open in India," an official statement quoted Beauchene as saying.

He was referring to the Swachch Bharat Mission under which a massive programme was undertaken to build toilets across the country.

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He made the comments at a discussion organised by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and the Centre for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies (cGanga) as part of the ongoing 5th India Water Impact Summit.

Beauchene said that there is a massive shift in the Indian government's approach from focusing only on infrastructure development to working with people and bringing about behavioural change.

He also emphasised the importance of data. "The problem cannot be solved if it is not understood and quantified.”

India has taken many endeavours in this direction also. There are many tasks at the work-in-progress stage but it's a very good start, he observed.

In a session on Digital Water, Ben Grumble, the Secretary of the Maryland department of Environment, stressed the need for nations to learn from each other's experience.

He said that "equity" of water is very essential and shared the success story of the US Clean Water Act.

Usha Rao Monari, Senior Advisor at Blackstone Infrastructure Group and Board, presenting the case of the Thames river cleaning up, said a good mix of policy and finance lead to effective cleaning of the river. It is noteworthy that the Namami Gange Mission has the advantage of these two factors -- policy and finance.

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