New Delhi: The government today said that over 67 per cent rural households of the country do not have access to toilets as per Census 2011 and that it will review the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA) to accelerate the pace of sanitation coverage.
Minister of State for Drinking Water and Sanitation Upendra Kushwaha, in a written reply to the Lok Sabha, said that a number of steps has been taken to accelerate sanitation coverage, including an increase in financial grants to NBA in the 12th Five Year plan.
"To improve the pace of its implementation, changes are made to the scheme (NBA) as and when required. The ministry is in the process of reviewing it with a view to accelerate the pace of sanitation coverage in the country," Kushwaha said.
The NBA, a comprehensive programme, is administered by the government through states to ensure sanitation facilities in rural areas including construction of toilets. Its main objectives are eradicating the practice of open defecation and ensuring clean environment.
As per the Census 2011, out of the total 16,78,26,730 rural households, 11,29,97,499 are without toilets within the premises. As many as 67.33 per cent rural households are without access to toilets, the Lok Sabha was informed.
As per the report, in Jharkhand 91.67 per cent rural households are without access to toilets while in Chhattisgarh it is 85.15 per cent.
Giving details of steps taken under NBA to accelerate sanitation coverage, Kushwaha said,
"Increasing the financial support for sanitation, the 12th Five Year Plan outlay has been fixed at Rs 37,159 crore which is 468 per cent higher than the 11th Five Year Plan Outlay of Rs 6,540 crore."
He said that under NBA the financial incentives for construction of toilets have been raised for all eligible beneficiaries to Rs 4,600 from earlier Rs 3,200.
Emphasise has also been laid on Information Education Communication (IEC) with 15 per cent of the total outlay of districts projects earmarked for it, Kushwaha said, adding that his ministry regularly reviews progress of NBA`s implementation.
Kushwaha said,"A large proportion of our population is still not convinced about the need to build toilets in their homes and use them. There is a need for a massive awareness drive to trigger behaviour change amongst people to encourage them to stop open defecation by building toilets in their homes and using them."
He said that in 2014-15 (upto June) 219417 household laterines construction was achieved while in 2013-14 4976294 were achieved.
Kushwaha sad that altogether 2857 Gram Panchayats have been awarded with Nirmal Gram Puraskar (NGP) in 2011-12. He said that while no award was given in 2012-13 as the NGP guidelines were under revision, selection process for GPs eligible for awards upto 2013-14 is currently underway.
He said that the selection process for Gram Panchayats eligible for award for 2014-15 has not yet started. Around Rs 3798 lakhs has been released to states as NGP award money in 2011-12.
He said that government has taken steps to ensure water supply in toilets constructed in rural areas.
He said that his ministry has adopted a "conjoint" approach to water supply and sanitation.
"States have been asked to prepare their annual plans in such a way that Gram Panchayats (GP) where the habitations have access to piped water supply are prioritised for coverage with toilets under NBA while GPs which are fully covered with household toilets are prioritised for provision of piped water under National Rural Drinking Water Programme," he said.
Replying to another question, he said that the World Bank provides assistance for rural drinking water and sanitation projects in the country.
Some of the projects were Uttarkhand rural water supply and sanitation project in which World Bank proved 120 million US dollars, Punja Rural water supply and sanitation project with a world bank aid of 154 million US dollars among others, he said.
Replying to another question, the minister said that the use of new and renewable energy is to be promoted under National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP).
He said that the ministry is already implementing a scheme of providing 10,000 solar dual pumps in 82 Maoists districts in ten states across the country.