New Delhi: In rural India, more than 93% of households have toilet facilities and 96.5% use them. This is a finding from a survey conducted by the Union government. The National Annual Rural Sanitation Survey (NARS) 2018-19 has found 90.7% of villages to be ‘open defecation free’ (ODF). These villages were declared by various districts and states as ODF.

This survey is done by an independent verification agency under the supervision of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.

The ministry said, “The survey was done between November 2018 and February 2019 and it was done in 92,040 houses of 6136 villages.”

The ministry said, “It was found that during the period of the survey that 93. 1% of the households had toilet facility and 96.5% of them use toilets. ”

The government has said that after the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission in 2014, there has been a change in the habits of millions of people regarding the use of toilets.

The ministry said that since the start of the mission, 500 million people stopped defecation in the open. Under Mission, more than nine crore toilets are built in rural India. In addition, more than 5 lakh villages of 615 districts have been declared as ODF.

Open defecation till 2013

open defecation
Sharp decline in open defecation within a year of NDA government

In 2013, 43.295% of Indians defecated in the open. A sharp decline can be seen in the occurrence of open defecation within a year of Narendra Modi government in the adjoining graph prepared by the World Bank. Right after coming to power, the current government had aggressively campaigned for the prime minister’s flagship programme, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

The Union government then monitored the progress in keeping India clean every year with State-wise annual surveys based on data supplied by the provincial governments.

While the winners were not always cities in the BJP-ruled States, the cleanliness drive was seen largely as Modi’s. An essential part of this campaign was making toilets available to the have nots.

History

Some urban advisers of the BJP had advised the party in 2004 towards the end of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government to include a programme of freedom from open defecation in the manifesto. Sources say, senior leader of the party, who later went on to become the country’s vice-president, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat had flagged the concern that public toilets in villages could turn into spots for crime against women.

The ODF initiative of the Modi government, therefore, went a step ahead, providing not for community toilets, one or a few in every village, but for a toilet each for every family that does not have it.

Union minister Ram Kripal Yadav had said last year in February that the Modi government had built 6 crore toilets since 2014.

A statistical portal says, “Since the campaign was launched, just under 80 million toilets have been built in India. 419 districts are now classified as being open defecation free. The share of the population with access to a toilet has also been climbing steadily and it currently stands at 89%, according to the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.” Following is an infographic presentation made by the website Statista.