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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Hello

I'm Vemanarayan working in a nationalized NGO called WASSAN where we work on WASH programmes, crop water budgecting and other livelihood resource development projects .

I am writing this mail to know the recent Guinness world records on sanitation in 2016 in rural areas.

What are the steps that we have to follow while applying for Guinness world records? Please let me know how much time will it takes and any other relevant data concerning it.

Thank you & Regards

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Though toilets are being constructed rapidly across India, questions remain about their acceptance and usage. Until that happens, complete 'swachhta' cannot be realised.

The Swachh Bharat (Gramin) website reports an increase in the total percentage of household toilet constructed from 42.02 percent in 2014 to 56.85 percent as on November 15, 2016. The number of open defecation free villages have also increased from 50,168 in 2015-16 to 1,17,242 villages. From just seven open defecation free districts in 2015-16, the number has risen to 60 with three states--Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala--declared completely open defecation free recently.

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About: IIT Madras will be conducting a round table discussion titled 'Emerging Paradigms in Water,Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) service delivery' on 23rd November, 2016

November 23, 2016 9:00AM

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The holy city of Ujjain is dealing with severe water and sanitation issues. A study reveals serious anomalies in the WASH situation in the city.

Despite all the hype around Swachh Bharat Mission, the situation on the ground remains dismal. The city of Ujjain is located on the western part of Madhya Pradesh on the Malwa Plateau and is primarily a religious tourism centre due to the Mahakal temple. The temple is not only one of the 12 jyotirlingas in India but also has prominence as the location for the Simhastha Kumbh Mela every 12 years.

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As part of the Gandhi Jayanti celebration, organisations, district administrations and schools were felicitated for achieving cleanliness targets.

“Like 'Satyagraha' freed the country from colonialism, 'Swachhagraha' would free the country from dirt” – Prime Minister Narendra Modi

With the current National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime in its third year in office, one of its most ambitious projects, the Swachh Bharat Mission, completes two full years in operation. The mission set the year 2019 as the deadline to completely eliminate open defecation from all parts of the country. 

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December 14, 2016 9:30AM

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Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is unlikely to be effective unless it understands the influence of the complementarity of WASH variables on the incidence of diarrhoea in India.

Diarrhoeal diseases are a leading cause for childhood mortality and morbidity worldwide. India registers the third highest proportion of child deaths caused by diarrhoea in South Asia [1]. According to Central Bureau of Health Intelligence, 2012, diarrhoeal diseases are the most prevalent of all water-related diseases in India [2].

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Nipun Vinayak, Director, Swachh Bharat Mission, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, writes about Madhya Pradesh's progress on the ground.

Ajit Tiwari, deputy commissioner, Swachh Bharat Mission, Madhya Pradesh.Ajit Tiwari is Deputy Commissioner, Swachh Bharat Mission, Madhya Pradesh. Years ago, prior to the launch of Swachh Bharat, he was working as BDO of Budhni block in Sehore district, and was exposed to CLTS training.

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Ranked fourth in toilet coverage, the state starts stressing on behaviour change through incentives.

Ramkaran Sharma built a new house three years back. From one room and kitchen on a terrace, his family graduated to three rooms, a bigger kitchen and a separate toilet and bathroom. Still, Ramkaran prefers to go out in the fields to relieve himself. “I like to take a long walk. Many people of older generation still go out while youngsters and women prefer to use toilets. Almost everybody has toilets at home now,” Sharma says.

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The mDemand mobile application pilot seeks to make tracking sanitation needs in rural India easy for the government. It is expected to take us a step closer to Swachh Bharat.

As part of its efforts to promote rural sanitation, the government, under the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), promises a subsidy of Rs 12,000 for the construction of individual household toilets. Households that fall in the below poverty line (BPL) category and select households such as those belonging to SCs/STs and the ones headed by women can avail of this subsidy amount.

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