India built 100 million rural toilets, but Indians are yet to learn to use them

Vijayawada: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu pays tribute to Mahatama Gandhi on his birth anniversary in Vijayawada on Oct 2, 2018. (Photo: IANS)

  • Swachh Bharat Mission will complete 5 years on October 2, 2019.
  • The Indian government has built over a 100 million toilets as a part of the Swachh Bharat Mission.
  • However, a large proportion of people in rural India still defecates in public even as they have access to toilets.


India launched Swachh Bharat Mission on October 4, 2014, with an ambitious plan to declare the country open-defecation free by October 2, 2019.

The programme could be termed partly successful as it provided access to toilet facilities to millions of rural households in the country. However, it failed to change the mindset of people who want to defecate in public.

An increasing number of toilets

According to government figures, more than 100 million toilets were built in the last five years.

"Twenty-seven states, 601 districts, 5,934 blocks, 2,46,116 gram panchayats and 5,50,151 villages have been declared open defecation free (ODF),” the former Minister of State for Drinking Water and Sanitation Ramesh Chandappa Jigajinag told Lok Sabha in February.

Yet, one in every four people still prefer to defecate in public , revealed research.

A large proportion of people still choose to defecate in open

The increase in the number of toilets could not alter the age-old practice

As many as 40-50% of the rural people in four states -- Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar -- continue to defecate in public. However, the number of such people was earlier at 70% in 2014.

"The fraction of people who own a latrine, but who nevertheless defecate in the open, did not change between 2014 and 2018: it was about 23% in both years,” reported India spend.
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