India’s sanitation challenge — a perspective

The condition of the top five states in India with the highest population, according to the 2011 Census — Uttar Pradesh (16.49%), Maharashtra (9.28%), Bihar (8.58%), West Bengal(7.55%), and Madhya Pradesh(6%) — is the key to India’s sanitation problem. These states, which amount to half (47.9%) of the total population, are the most challenging and must be prioritized.

According to the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) data on Swacch Bharat Mission (Gramin), published in 2016, of these states, Bihar (0.28%) and UP (0.36%) have the lowest percentage of declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) villages. They are followed by Madhya Pradesh (2.71%), Maharashtra (12.93%), and West Bengal (18.66%). The high population and area of coverage are some of the roadblocks.

After the culmination of the Swacch Bharat campaign there has been a marginal increase in the Individual Household Latrine (IHHL) from 2015–16 to 2016–16 at 0.63% for both BPL and APL households. Surprisingly, Bihar and MP saw a decrease in IHHLs by 38.6% and 9% respectively.

Data Sources:

Census, 2011
Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, 2016

March 30, 2017

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