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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Experts opine on whether the water and sanitation sector got a meaningful budget push this year.

Is this year’s budget a mere continuation of the trajectory set last year in social sectors like drinking water, sanitation, employment guarantee and agriculture? Is the budgetary outlay for urban development responsive towards the drinking water and sanitation needs of vulnerable sections of society such as the urban poor and women? Does the budget hold appeal for India's rural poor?

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This study provides first time evidence that the provision of hygienic latrines and piped water supply in rural villages can lead to significant reduction in the spread of diarrhoeal diseases.

Open defecation continues to be practised by as high as 65% of India's rural population and only 14% of rural households have access to piped water supply leading to high rates of infant deaths and mortality. This working paper titled 'Toilets can work: Short and medium run health impacts of addressing complementarities and externalities in water and sanitation' published by the  National Bureau of Economic Research, argues

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Better regulation and transparency is needed in the WASH sector to ensure that India meets its Swachh Bharat Mission targets, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals.

While the WatSan sector has been prioritised in the country’s policy agenda through the launch of the Swachh Bharat Mission, last year’s budgetary outlay was way below desired levels.

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The focus of the summit was to create awareness about the existing water & sanitation issues in India, Governments’ future plan for Swachh Bharat Mission, national reforms on water & sanitation.

Day 1:

The National Sustainable Water & Sanitation India summit 2016 was successfully launched on 7 January, 2016 at the Sheraton Grand, Bengaluru. This two day exclusive gathering was inaugurated by Sri U.T. Khader - Honorable Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Govt. of Karnataka & and  Sri. B.N. Manjunath Reddy – Honorable Mayor, BBMP in the presence of other distinguished personalities like Dr. Ravindra – Chairman, Smart Cities Foundation India, Sr. K .Ravi – V.P. FKCCI, Mr. Sasanka Velidandla and many more.

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Hello,

 

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The film titled 'A Hand Pump' tells the story of the villagers of Padapadar, Odisha and their struggle to finally get their right to safe drinking water.

"More than eight villagers in Padapadar have died due to water-borne diseases such as typhoid, diarrhoea, jaundice, etc. in last five years", says Bir Mallick, an active member of Jeevika Suraksha Manch (JSM), an organisation working on tribal rights in Kandhamal district, Odisha. As per a report by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, more than 1000 people have died and over a million have been affected by water-borne diseases due to contaminated water sources in Odisha.

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A study argues that increasing faecal contamination of groundwater-derived potable supplies is inevitable as the uptake of on-site sanitation intensifies in India.

Inadequate separation of excreta from human contact can lead to a number of health problems. This is a cause for concern in India because as many as 600 million people defecate in the open despite ongoing national programmes to curb this, and the Prime Minister of India having declared this as a national priority pledging to provide a toilet in every home by

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De-linking the relationship between the two and not acknowledging the contribution of sanitation workers can limit the goal of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to clean India and achieve total sanitation.

Of the one billion people defecating out in the open globally, 66% live in India of which as high as 92% live in rural areas. India still continues to lag behind in terms of achieving the Millennium Development Goals sanitation target to halve the population that doesn't have access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015, despite continued efforts by the government over the last three decades. 

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About WET 2016
VIKSAT announces the next batch of the WASH Educators Training (WET 2016). This batch is particularly for the Institutions/applicants from the western eco-regions of India working on issues related to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH). The training is directed towards creating and nurturing a cadre of young educators for better understanding of water and WASH issues.

February 24, 2016 10:00AM - March 4, 2016 7:00AM
January 15, 2016 11:45PM

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Maybe beliefs that faeces were impure also caused people to look at the practice of containing faeces in the latrine pit in the house as a ‘sin’ is one reason but there are so many others.

Of the one billion defecating in the open globally 66% live in India, of which 92% live in rural areas. Despite concerted government efforts for the last three decades to promote sanitation, India continues to lag behind in terms of access to basic sanitation facilities. Odisha in eastern India, is among the lowest performing states in terms of toilet coverage, and recent evidence shows that open defecation is high in the state. Even among households who have toilets, many do not use them.

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