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All Kerala, Mizoram households are open defecation free

 

New Delhi: Kerala and Mizoram top the list of States, with 100% of households which do not practise open defecation, while Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are at the bottom of the rankings, with less than 44% of such households, The Hindu ’s analysis of the raw data generated by a government-commissioned survey finds.

Sixty-eight per cent of rural households in India say that all their members use the toilet whenever required, meaning they do not practise open defecation at all, the National Annual Rural Sanitation Survey (NARSS) 2017-18 revealed. NARSS announced its results this week, three and a half years after the launch of the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan. The provisional summary report of the survey found that 77% of all rural households now have access to toilets, and that 93.4% of those who had access to toilets used them regularly. NARSS protocol says that “a household will be considered as practising open defecation unless all the members of that household use the toilet 100% of the time.” The Hindu ’s analysis shows that 68% of households across the country now meet this criterion.

The survey was conducted by a third-party agency Kantar Public, as a requirement by the World Bank to begin payout on its $1.5 billion loan to the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan-Gramin, according to the survey report. It involved a survey of 92,040 households in 6,136 villages across the country between mid-November 2017 and mid-March 2018.

Now that the first survey is complete, the World Bank has disbursed $147.5 million as the first tranche of the loan, two years after the deal was signed, a Bank spokesperson said.

“The analysis from the NARSS will also set the baseline values for the three progress indicators against which the World Bank will release or disburse funds in the future,” said the spokesperson, adding that each State will receive incentive-grants based on its progress in achieving and sustaining sanitation outcomes, including the open defecation free(ODF) status.

The NARSS will now be conducted every year.

In a review in October 2017, the World Bank had said, “The disbursement of the program is considerably delayed due to delay in selection of the Independent Verification Agency.” Overall implementation progress was “moderately unsatisfactory”, and the project’s risk rating was “substantial”, according to the review.

“This is an elaborate survey and there were a lot of quality measures, checks and balances in place even before the survey began,” said the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, in an official response to The Hindu ’s questions.

The survey’s findings confirmed the government’s data on ODF villages, with 95.6% of the villages declared ODF confirmed to be so, said the Ministry. “This shows that there is a close congruence between the data available with us and the situation on the ground,” it said. While only 20% of villages are declared ODF so far, “many of the remaining 80% villages were also found to have 100% access and usage of toilets during the survey”, it said.

For communities, ODF status is defined by “no visible faeces found in the environment/village; and every household as well as public/community institutions using a safe technology option for disposal of faeces.”

Access to toilets is defined as “households having access to a toilet that they own or having access to a shared toilet which can be used by multiple families or have access to a community toilet.”

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