A flush in India’s sanitary push: City households drive the sway

A recent survey by NSSO reveals that 88.8% urban households in the country have access to sanitary toilets.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Published: September 10, 2016 1:20 am

In a major boost to the government’s initiative of building toilets across the country, every urban household across two states — Mizoram and Uttarakhand — now has a sanitary toilet. The all-India average for urban areas too stands high at 88.8 per cent. Some states are close to achieving the feat in rural areas also, with more than 95 per cent households in Sikkim, Kerala and Mizoram having access to a sanitary toilet.

According to a survey on Swachhta Status conducted by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) during May-June 2015 (covering 3,788 villages and 2,907 urban blocks), Mizoram and Uttarakhand top the list in terms of household access to toilets in urban areas. When it comes to household access to toilet in rural areas, Sikkim tops the list. The survey, which covered 73,176 households in rural India and 41,538 households in urban India, examined the situation of availability/accessibility of toilets, solid waste and liquid waste management at sample village/ward level.

Only six states (Bihar, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Jharkhand) fall below the national urban average of 88.8 per cent with Jharkhand ranking the lowest (among 27 states) with only 77.7 per cent of its urban households having a sanitary toilet.

Eight states fell below the national rural average of 45.3 per cent and Jharkhand stood last with only 18.8 per cent of its rural households having a toilet. The other seven are: Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh.

While Gujarat ranked 10th when it came to having access to a toilet in urban area, it ranked 14th when it came to access to toilet in rural areas. Interestingly, Gujarat tops the list when it comes to street cleaning in the wards. The survey found that as high as 94.5 per cent of the wards in Gujarat had a system of street cleaning, Haryana came next with 94.1 per cent of the wards with a system of street cleaning.

There was also a wide gap between urban and rural India when it comes to access of water for use in toilets for households. While the figure stood at 87.9 per cent for urban India, only 42.5 per cent of the rural households had access to water for use in toilet and comes across as a major issue for the rural areas.

Other than sanitary toilets at home, the survey also looked at the access of community toilet in villages and urban blocks. While 42 per cent of the wards in 2,907 urban blocks had a community toilet, 13.1 per cent of the 3,788 villages surveyed as a community toilet.

While the infrastructure has improved in cities, the survey reveals that they are also being maintained well. The survey shows that the toilets in almost 91.4 per cent wards were being cleaned up either by the person employed with the municipal body or employed by the residents’ welfare association regularly. While 56.4 per cent wards reported to have sewer network for disposal of liquid waste, 78.1 per cent wards reported having a system of street cleaning. Also, 64.2 per cent wards had a dumping place for solid waste and almost 50 per cent of them were cleaned every day whereas the remaining were cleaned on a weekly or a monthly basis. Only 4.9 per cent wards were such where the solid waste dumping place was not cleaned.

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