Rural Sanitation

The Central Rural Sanitation Programme, which was started in 1986, was one of India’s first efforts to provide safe sanitation in rural areas. This programme focussed mainly on providing subsidies to people to construct sanitation facilities. However, a study done by the government in 1996-97 showed that it was more important to raise awareness about sanitation as a whole rather than to just provide subsidies for construction. This understanding marked the first shift in the programme. In 1999, a restructured Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) was initiated to create supply-led sanitation by promoting local sanitary marts and a range of technological options.

The rural sanitation campaign has the following as its objectives:

  • Accelerate sanitation coverage in rural areas.
  • Generate a push from the people to get facilities rather than expect the Government to do it (demand-led promotion).
  • Focus on intensive education and awareness campaigns to ensure that people understand the need for safe sanitation.
  • Take the scheme beyond rural households to rural schools and nursery schools. Here again, the emphasis was placed on promoting good hygiene practices.
  • Promote cost-effective and appropriate technologies.
  • Through all the above, improve the health and quality of life in rural areas.

The last modification of the scheme happened in 2012. It was restructured and renamed as the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan. With an intent to transform India to "Nirmal Bharat", the scheme's revised target for reaching total sanitation was changed from 2012 to 2022. 

Understanding rural sanitation dataState of rural sanitation in India - Progress and performance - Data visualisation tool by Arghyam

The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation publishes data related to the rural sanitation scheme on its website. The State of Sanitation Project is an effort to create simple tools that will demystify large datasets and also compare it to other relevant datasets.

View the State of sanitation in India - Data visualisation tool.

From outlays to outcomes: understanding the status of rural sanitation data

The census 2011 data on rural sanitation coverage was a reality check to the existing understanding that the government’s efforts at rural sanitation were moving rapidly towards achieving universal coverage. 

Below are some key lessons that emerged:

  • A difference in the total number of rural households as counted by the census 2011 and the government scheme – while in 2001, the difference was 0.14 lakhs, in 2011, the difference had grown to 884.03 lakhs.
  • A huge difference in the number of rural households with toilets. According to census 2011 data, only 30.7% of rural households had access to toilets in 2011. According to rural sanitation scheme data the number was considerably larger at 79.9%.

Some of these differences can be accounted for by the fact that the sanitation scheme achievement number was calculated on household numbers that were lesser than the 2011 household number. When corrected for this, the total achievement fell to 65.7 percent, which was still significantly higher than the number reported by the census 2011.

Based on these calculations India will have to spend anywhere between 9 – 19 times of its expenditure up to 2011 (Rs. 6140 crore) in order to achieve universal coverage of household toilets – which is just one component of the government scheme.

Download and read the entire study: From outlays to outcomes - The state of rural sanitation data in India - A report by Accountability Initiative and Arghyam (2013).

Download rural sanitation fact sheets for all states of India.

Accountability Initiative, Centre for Policy Research carried out the research for the State of Sanitation Project. Arghyam supported the effort.

About the State of Sanitation Project

The goal of the State of Sanitation project is to understand the success of the government’s rural sanitation scheme from the lenses of coverage, equity, accountability, efficiency and health.State of Sanitation

Open defecation in rural India remains a problem that perplexes policy makers and civil society alike. India has the largest number of people who practice open defecation (626 million) and the most number of child deaths due to poor water, sanitation and hygiene conditions compared to the rest of the world.

While access to toilets is by itself an important aspect that needs to be understood, it is not enough to reach the goal of total sanitation. Indeed, India’s rural sanitation scheme which was devised in 1986 and restructured in 2012 as the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA) acknowledges this. Its goal is not only universal toilet coverage by 2022, but also improving health and providing privacy and dignity to women, with the overall goal of improving the quality of life of people living in rural areas.

Aims of the State of Sanitation project: Multiple agencies have assessed the status of the rural sanitation programme and have quantified its benefits over time. However, there have been few attempts to provide an online, concurrent monitoring mechanism to track the status of both the implementation of the scheme and the larger benefits from the scheme.

To this end, the project will:The State of Sanitation Project is supported and run by Arghyam

  • Design monitoring tools – this will include:
      • Online tools that help demystify government data and provide overlays between multiple data sets relevant to sanitation. These tools will be opened up to civil society and provide context to the large data sets.
      • Participatory assessment tools that will attempt to qualify how the scheme is working and issues in implementation, usage and achievement of the rural sanitation scheme’s goals.
  • Identify best practices and gaps in implementation – this will include:
      • Ground verification of best practices and issues.
      • Focussed efforts to document good practices and problems.

For more queries or feedback, please contact us.

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As Swachh Bharat Mission is racing towards its 2019 deadline, a CAG report reveals that sanitation is not a one-time exercise and there is a need to look beyond the deadline.

We have just a year to go for Swachh Bharat Mission’s (SBM) deadline of making India open-defecation free (ODF). In the last four years, the government has built 86.08 million toilets (as on September 26, 2018) throughout the country as a part of this flagship programme on providing safe sanitation to all by October 2019.

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Policy matters this week

Additional funds of over Rs 1,300 crore allocated to dam safety project

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News this week

Kerala floods take 38 lives, severe loss reported

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There is a need for better regulation and monitoring to bring toxin-free food to the Indian market.

“The recent scare due to the detection of formalin-laced fish across Goa, Kerala, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland and Meghalaya points to a link between water quality and food safety. Fish traders find it cost-effective to use formalin, a carcinogen, instead of ice to prevent the decomposition of fish during transportation to distant markets.

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The job of a Swachh Bharat Mission Prerak is to ensure the mission is completed on time. They have many hurdles to cross before reaching the finishing line.

Most of Etawah, a city on the banks of the Yamuna river in Uttar Pradesh, has plenty of stories to share about their favourite leader Daddaji or Mulayam Singh Yadav, one of the former chief ministers of Uttar Pradesh. The area bordering the ravines near Chambal, on the other hand, resounds with tales of dacoits like Phoolan Devi, Seema Parihar and Nirbhay Gujjar. “Politics is a way of life in this agriculturally prosperous district.

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A study points out that pit latrines with onsite sanitation systems are a source of groundwater contamination.

Groundwater is a major source of water for a large number of Indians with 66 percent rural households and 27 percent urban households directly depending on it for drinking purposes, as per Census 2011. There is a greater daily dependence on groundwater for non-potable uses.

Topics

Sub-Categories

Regions

Toilets in households have only increased the drudgery of village women as they have to fetch water from faraway sources for toilet use.

Rajasthan is all geared up for the open defecation free (ODF) status well before the national deadline of October 2, 2019. According to the assistant engineer of the nagar parishad, Resha Singh, 4.75 lakh toilets have been constructed since October 2, 2014 in Alwar district which is about to be declared ODF.

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Topics

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Regions

Chhattisgarh’s Bemetara district has been facing severe water shortage for a while now. Rainwater harvesting could be a solution to this.

There seems to be no end to the drinking water crisis in the Bemetara district in Chhattisgarh. It is only becoming worse with every passing day. More than 40 percent of all the hand pumps installed in the district have run dry due to the depletion of groundwater level.  

Topics

Sub-Categories

Regions

How 'super village challenge' in Palwal district set the benchmark for the speedy development of villages.

At just 24 years of age, Abhinav Vats has learnt a lot as the chief minister’s Good Governance Associate (CMGGA) posted in Palwal district of Haryana. An economics graduate from Delhi University, he worked as a research analyst with McKinsey and Company at Gurgaon for two-and-a-half years before deciding to be a CMGGA.

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Phoolbasan Yadav’s journey towards empowering women in Chhattisgarh is an inspiring one.

Phoolbasan Yadav from the remote Sukaldaihan village in the Rajnandgaon district in Chhattisgarh shot to fame for her untiring effort in empowering the women of her village. "Since my childhood, I had experienced extreme poverty and hunger, and I feel that similar is the plight of lakhs of women in the country. I want to help them,” says Yadav.

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