Union Budget 2019: More than 45,000 toilets that are now available on Google Maps cover 53 per cent of India's urban population
Budget 2019 India: A stepping stone to the government’s vision of a clean India is Swachh Bharat Mission. At the same time, the government is pushing digitisation as it urges citizens to switch to Internet-powered systems for availing services. Launched as a product of the combination of both initiatives, the toilet locator on Google Maps has seen monumental growth, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in her budget speech.
Google Maps now shows over 45,000 community and public toilets as a part of government’s Loo Review campaign. Under the confluence of two flagship programmes of the government, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) partnered Google to launch the toilet locator on Google Maps last year. Since the launch, over 53 per cent of India’s urban population is covered by the toilet locator services on Google Maps, said Sitharaman.
The 45,000 toilets also cover 1700 cities in India – however, the government has not shared data of the number of rural toilets seen on Google Maps. The official data, as mentioned during Sitharaman’s speech, paints a positive picture. The paucity of proper toilets has been a top concern for the government since its first term.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has repeatedly stressed the urgent need for sanitation. According to the 2012 census, 60 per cent of Indian households surveyed had at least one mobile device whereas only 36.4 per cent of households had a toilet. The latest data shows manifold improvement in the demographics.