Gujarat performs poorly in rural sanitation

Gujarat performs poorly in rural sanitation

Making his Independence Day’s dream for a “Swachh Bharat” (Clean India) by 2019 into a reality may be an uphill task for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as implementation of rural sanitation programme has been sluggish in many states — including Gujarat, where he himself headed the government till May.

Gujarat’s performance in building toilets in schools and anganwadi centres in the villages under the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA)—a sanitation programme funded by the Centre—has been rather poor and below the national average in 2013-14. It has not improved during first quarter of the current financial year too.

The state government could build only 1,114 school toilets against the target of 4,587, recording a 24.29 per cent achievement in 2013-14, far below the national average of 48.44 per cent, revealed a document prepared by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) for a recent review of the NBA.

The state had a target of building 4,732 anganwadi toilets in 2013-14, but could construct only 490, registering a 10.36 per cent achievement, again below the national average of 27.87 per cent.

An ambitious target for building 7,712 school toilets was set for Gujarat for 2014-15, but it could not build even one till last July, said the MDWS note.

In his maiden Independence Day’s speech from the ramparts of the Red Fort on August 15, Modi had not only announced his plan to launch a Clean India campaign on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on October 2, but also vowed to build toilets in all the schools across the country by August 15 next year.

Gujarat is not alone. Several other states like Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Odisha, too performed poorly in building school toilets under the NBA, both in 2013-14 and during the first quarter of the 2014-15.

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