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NSO Survey Debunks Govt Claims of Open Defecation-Free India

Only 71.3 percent of rural houses and 96.2 percent of households in urban areas had access to a toilet.

Updated
India
2 min read
NSO Survey Debunks Govt Claims of Open Defecation-Free India
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Claims of an open defecation-free India have been debunked by the latest National Statistical Office (NSO) report on sanitation in India, carried out between July and December 2018.

Only 71.3 percent of rural houses and 96.2 percent of households in urban areas had access to a toilet, the report finds.

It is still a significant improvement, since only 40 percent of rural households had access to toilets in 2012.

The report, however, notes that there may be respondent bias as the question on benefits received by the households from government schemes was asked before the question on access to toilets.

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Some of the worst performing states were Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Bihar with 50.7, 48, 42, 37 and 36 percent of rural households without access to toilets respectively.

According to the survey, a household has access to a toilet if a majority of its members has the facility of using it. This includes household toilets, community toilets, or public-use toilets with or without payment.

The present survey was spread across the country and for the central sample, data was collected from 1,06,838 households (63,736 in rural areas and 43,102 in urban areas).

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had declared the country entirely open defecation-free on 2 October this year, purportedly delivering on the NDA government’s promise.

“Today, rural India has declared itself ‘open defecation-free’. This is the strength and proof of success of the Swachh Bharat Mission. We are getting appreciated and awarded for providing toilets to over 660 million people in 60 months by building 110 million toilets in five years,” PM Modi had said.

Experts had subsequently questioned the sustainability of the government's Swachh Bharat Mission and raised concerns over the maintenance of the nearly 100 million toilets constructed under the ambitious programme.

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