Centre has the objective of making India open-defecation free before 2019 general elections and the top government officials have echoed the same. However, they have cautioned that changing mindset of the people will still remain a challenge, reports DNA. According to the report, MoS for Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Singh Puri said that till October 2014 when the Swachh Bharat Mission was launched, rural India till then achieved only 39 percent sanitation coverage. The minister said that more than 5.9 crore toilets have been built and close to 30 crore rural population has stopped open defecation since the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission. “290 districts in seven states of Sikkim, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Gujarat and Arunachal Pradesh have become open defecation free, said Puri quoting the report. The minister added, “We are expecting another 8-10 states to become ODF by March, taking the total to about 18-20. We expect 400 districts to be ODF by March.”
This aim of making the country open defecation free will be achieved through the construction of individual, cluster and community toilets. The objective of the Centre is to achieve Open-Defecation Free (ODF) India through a projected cost of Rs 1.96 lakh crore by October 2 next year with construction of 12 million toilets in rural India, added the report.
The data from Swachhta Status Report from the National Sample Survey Office 2016 suggested that 8.9 percent of urban India still goes for open defecation while 55.4 percent in rural India defecate in open. This suggests that with one and half year left there is still lot to be done in order to achieve the target of making the country open defecation free.
With one and a half years left, the mission has a long way to go, as data from the Swachhta Status Report from the National Sample Survey Office 2016 suggests. According to that report, 8.9% of urban India has to opt for open defecation, while 55.4% in rural India have to defecate in the open. The task is getting tougher as Swachhta Status report suggest that in 2015, 54.1 percent defecate in open while in 2016 this number has increased to 55.4 percent.
The report also said that Centre is continuously making efforts to construct toilets across the country. According to data provided by Swachh Bharat website, 70.3 lakh applications for individual toilets have been received. Out of this 25 lakh toilets were completed and work on 17 lakh toilets have commenced. With respect to community toilets, the data shows that 80,554 community toilets have been completed, while work on 94,023 have commenced. The report said that the government has completed 23,760 public toilets while 36,246 are under construction.