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Friday, 2 March 2012

Half of India still defecates in the open

 
Half of the country's population still defecates in the open even after 60 years of independence, the Planning Commission has admitted. 

Faced with the harsh reality of open defecation by a vast majority, affecting the dignity of women and girls the most, the plan panel is revamping its strategy and is set to raise spending on government programme on sanitation and drinking water. 

"Around 60 crore people defecate in the open," plan panel member Mihir Shah said, admitting to the need for a change in government's approach. The panel is of the view that toilets should be constructed for hamlets too, apart from aiming to build toilets for households. The thinking is also to build bathrooms along with toilets. 

Shah said government's existing Nirmal Gram Puraskar to award villages that promote hygiene and sanitation undermine the demand-driven sanitation programme. He hinted at a dramatically higher plan allocation for sanitation. 

The government can afford to pump more funds into sanitation schemes as the rural development ministry has found that around Rs 10,000 crore allocated for demand-driven national job guarantee scheme (NREGA) was lying unutilized. 

Under its flagship Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) launched in 1991, the government had set a target of universal household sanitation coverage by 2012 which is unlikely to be achieved. While the scheme is being implemented in 606 districts of 30 states and UTs, a recent review report said 22 states will not be able to meet the target. 

In fact, only five states - Tripura, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala and Mizoram - will be able to meet the 2012 target, according to a report 'A Decade of the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC)' of World Bank's Water and Sanitation Programme and the rural development ministry. 

The report found an increase in coverage from 21% in 2001 to over 65%. In the 1990s, only one in five rural households had access to a toilet. It also ranked the performance of states on a scale of 100. Only three states - Kerala, West Bengal and Maharashtra - have shown a score of above 75. 

Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Sikkim, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Tamil Nadu were among the states whose performance was above average (50-74). Rest of the states were ranked below average (below 25).


Source:- http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/half-of-india-still-defecates-in-the-open/articleshow/11818364.cms

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