CVoter Sanitation Survey: Only 15% of poor ‘always’ had access to toilets

New Delhi:  A huge majority of Indians belonging to the lower income group did not have access to a functional toilet till the launch of the Swach Bharat mission in 2014. This was revealed during an exclusive pan Indian survey conducted by CVoter Foundation in late April.

The question asked was: Since when do you have a toilet in your house? A little more than 15 per cent stated that they always had access to a toilet. CVoter Foundation researchers analysed the data gleaned from the responses and the conclusion is that almost 85 per cent of poor Indians did not have an access to a toilet till the launch of the Swach Bharat mission.

While 23 per cent said they got a toilet in the last one year, 27 per cent stated they got a toilet in their house between one and three years ago. Another 12 per cent said they got a toilet between three and five years ago while 20 per cent stated they got it more than five years ago. When the CVoter Foundation survey was conducted in late April this year, it was a little less than nine years since the Swach Bharat campaign was launched.

Under the welfare scheme, the central government spent Rs 70,000 crores between 2014 and 2019 to incentivise construction of toilets by poor families which led to about 9 crore new toilets across the country. According to data released by series 5 of the NFHS, the percentage of households practising open defecation declined from 39 per cent in 2015-16 to 19 per cent in 2019-21.

The exclusive survey conducted by CVoter Foundation across India was initiated to find out success and failures of the Swach Bharat campaign. To make the survey more representative of reality on the ground, all the respondents came from the lower income background, with incomes below Rs 3000 per month. The underlying assumption is that it is the very poor who defecate the most in the open.

CVoter Foundation will expand the initial scope of this survey into a larger one which will facilitate a state wise ranking on the issue.


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