Over fifty per cent of the population defecates in the open in India which has highest number of people in the world indulging in the practice, Lok Sabha was informed today.
Replying to a question about whether India has the highest number of people in the world defecating in the open, Union Minister Ram Kripal Yadav replied in affirmative.
"Yes. As per Joint Monitoring Programme Report, 2015, 59.43 per cent of people defecating in open in the world are from India," said Yadav, Minister of State for Drinking Water and Sanitation.
Responding to another question, the minister said the number of persons defecating in the open in the country has decreased to 50.05 per cent (as on February 19, 2016) from 57.95 per cent as on October 2, 2014 when the 'Swachh Bharat' Mission (Gramin) was launched.
"As per data submitted by states/Union Territories on online Integrated Management Information System (IMIS), the percentage of rural households defecating in open was 57.95 per cent on October 2, 2014. This has decreased to 50.05 per cent on February 19, 2016," he said.
Nadia (in West Bengal), Indore (in Madhya Pradesh) and Bikaner (in Rajasthan) districts have been declared open defecation-free by respective state governments after the Mission was launch.
The minister said Sikkim, Kerala and Himachal Pradesh have least number of rural households which defecate in open at 0.10 per cent, 3.69 per cent and 5.49 per cent respectively.
On the other hand, Odisha, Bihar and Jammu and Kashmir have higher number of people defecating in open at 77.16 per cent, 76.25 per cent and 67.68 per cent respectively.
The minister said that under the Mission, the government has set a goal to achieve Swachh Bharat by October 2, 2019.