Only Gujarat and Chandigarh met their targets for toilet construction for households, according to a TERI University report released this week.
Barring Gujarat, none of the states in India met their targets for toilet-building in urban areas according to the report titled: ‘State of Urban Water and Sanitation in India’ released Friday.
The Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) is a flagship programme of the Modi government, and many BJP-ruled states fare better on most indicators. However, three-quarters of the states did not even meet half of their targets for building toilets in households, until April 2017. Not even Gujarat met its target for common toilets and public toilets.
“Today, India is fighting a decisive battle for cleanliness and hygiene through the Swachh Bharat Mission. It is time for each one of us to commit ourselves towards ensuring public hygiene, personal hygiene and environmental hygiene. It is remarkable to note that the government, politicians, celebrities, NGOs, private enterprises are all working together to achieve a common goal,” Manoj Kumar, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, said.
The urban development ministry is the nodal agency that is responsible for SBM in 4041 towns across India. The central government revised targets for toilet building downwards for urban areas from 1.04 crore to 66.42 lakh based on state government evaluations, which is a 36% decrease than the initial targets when SBM was launched.
States are struggling to meet even these lower targets. The report noted that along with construction of toilets, the government needs to revise the water supply to urban and rural areas to make the toilets usable.