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With Over Five Crore Toilets And 70 Per Cent Sanitation Coverage In Rural Areas, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan Crosses Another Milestone

More than 5 crore toilets have been constructed in rural areas under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, as sanitation coverage reaches all time high of 70 per cent

Toilets in India
  • 5.17 crore household toilets have been built all across India
  • India’s sanitation coverage reaches all time high of 70.33 per cent
  • Three states have gone ODF this year till September 2017

A month after completion of the third anniversary of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, which was launched on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti in October 2014, another significant milestone has been achieved under the campaign. Over 5.17 crore toilets have now been built under the Abhiyan, a significant achievement for both the campaign and towards the improvement of the country’s sanitation. The sanitation coverage in rural India has also crossed 70 per cent, a record high as far as national sanitation coverage is concerned.

The building of over 5 crore toilets in three years under the campaign comes as a significant achievement not just for the campaign, but the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS), which has been instrumental in implementing the rural wing of the Swachh Bharat campaign. The total target of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is the building of 11 crore toilets till 2019 so building nearly 6 crore toilets in two years will be a formidable challenge for the ministry.

The progress under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has picked up speed, especially in 2017. The number of toilets in rural areas in April 2017 was little over three crore and the rural sanitation coverage during the same period was 60.53 per cent. In five months, over two crore toilets have been built and the sanitation coverage has also increased by 10 per cent, signaling significant progress within a short term period.

In the last five months, the building of toilets across rural areas in several states has seen improvement, resulting in speedier movement towards our ODF target of 2019. We are confident of continuing the momentum and complete the construction of 11 crore toilets by 2019, said a Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation official.

Till 2014, the national sanitation coverage rested at 33 per cent, less than half of the current numbers. In three years, number of individual household latrines in the country has gone up. Rural areas of Haryana, Uttarakhand and Gujarat have also become open defecation free in the three years of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

On October 2 this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed on the importance of having and using a toilet in the household, as it can save up to Rs 50,000 annually. The Prime Minister also stressed on how a sense of positive competition has evolved ever since the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan started, and how states were trying to outdo each other in terms of improving sanitation and going ODF.

2018 is also poised to be an interesting year for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, as some major states such as Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Jharkhand are set to become open defecation free. The Abhiyan would aim for maximum states to attain the ODF distinction by next year so that the remaining year of the mission could be reserved for additional work such as attaining ODF plus status, as well as working on other objectives of the mission, such as solid-liquid waste management.

Also Read: With No Toilet, No Bride Policy, This District In Uttar Pradesh Aims To Eliminate Open Defecation

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