India: Unrealistic approach hampers rural sanitation programme
Updated - Friday 01 June 2007
A report by the Rajiv Gandhi National Drinking Water Mission estimates 30 million people in rural areas suffer from sanitation-related diseases. In economic terms, these cause a loss of 180 million man-days and Rs 1,200 crore (EUR 213 million) annually. The Indian magazine Down to Earth writes that the government’s focus seems to be on increasing sanitation coverage at the cost of quality and popular involvement. In 1981, it was reckoned that only 1 per cent of rural India had sanitation facilities. In 1986, the first structured programme for rural sanitation, the Central Rural Sanitation Programme, was launched with minimal popular involvement. In 1999, the scheme was restructured. Its new avatar, Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC), was meant to make the scheme demand-driven and people-centred.
Government records show over 29 million household toilets have now been installed, resulting in rural sanitation coverage of 40 per cent. The government’s aim is complete coverage by 2012. But crucial questions need to be asked, especially about technology and funds, before ambitious targets are set, the magazine writes quoting from field reports from Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka. Rs 2,200 crore (EUR 391 million) has been spent on TSC. In the 2007-08 budget, the finance minister promised to raise the annual outlay from Rs 720 crore (EUR 128 million) in 2006-07 to Rs 954 crore (EUR 170).
Related news: India: pay as you go toilets for Indian cities, Source Weekly, 6 Mar 2007
Related web site: Livelihoods Connect: Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS)
Source: Down to Earth, 5 Apr 2007
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