Where are the toilets?

Policy matters this week: Ministry sets up committee to investigate discrepancy in toilet data and India and Asian Development Bank fund embankments in Nepal and Assam.
Open defecation due to lack of toilets Open defecation due to lack of toilets

Committee to investigate discrepancy in data on toilets

The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation has set up a high-level committee to look into the huge data discrepancy between the reported number of toilets built and the actual situation on the ground. The gap was revealed in Census 2011. It showed that only 30.79% rural households had toilets while the Ministry data showed that 53.09% of the country's rural households were covered by the sanitation programmes till December 2010. According to experts, the situation is unlikely to change unless the focus of the sanitation campaign is shifted from a subsidy-based model to a community-based approach.

India gives Rs. 374 million to Nepal for flood control

The Indian ambassador to Nepal handed over Rs.374.68 million for flood control measures along the three border rivers of Bagmati, Lalbakeya and Kamla. The money will be used for construction of embankments in southern Nepal in accordance with the decision taken by the India-Nepal Joint Committee on Inundation and Flood Management. The total grant from India to Nepal for embankment construction stands at Rs 2917.68 million now.

More money for embankments near the Brahamputra

The Asian Development Bank will spend Rs 740 crore in a Flood and River Erosion Management (FREM) programme along the Brahamputra to raise embankments and other flood control structures.The project, expected to finish in seven years, will be taken up at three locations in Assam along the Brahmaputra — Palasbari-Gumi, Kaziranga and Dibrugarh. The state government has set up a separate agency for the implementation of the project, which includes training local people in disaster management.

Karnataka to launch integrated rainfed farming programme

The Karnataka government, in association with the International Crop Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), will launch 'Bhoochetana Plus' a pilot programme on rainfed integrated farming in the four districts of Bijapur, Chikmagalur, Raichur and Tumkur. The programme will focus on soil health management, forestry, dairy farming, fodder development and post harvest methods in 80,000 hectares of farmland to increase crop productivity and sustained economic benefits for small and marginal land holding farmers.

NGT asks for action plan to address fluoride contamination in Maharashtra

The National Green Tribunal has issued notice to collectors of 12 fluorosis-hit districts in Maharashtra, the State Health Secretary and the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) asking them to submit a time-bound action plan to address issues of potable water contamination. In 2012, 1,758 villagers were affected by fluorosis in the State with more than a thousand in Vidarbha alone. The NGT also directed the MPCB to submit a report analysing the water quality and the level of contamination in groundwater in all the affected districts that included Nagpur and Yavatmal among others.


This is a weekly roundup of policy matters from December 8-14. Also read last week's news updates.

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