78% of Indians now have toilets, up from 39% in 2014

A toilet built under SBM | source:SBM

The percentage of Indians who have access to toilets has jumped to 77.52% from 38.7% in October 2014, the ministry of drinking water and sanitation said.

The jump is largely due to the implementation of the Swachh Bharat (Clean India) Mission.

Under the mission, a total of 6.11 cr toilets have been built in rural areas and around 0.5 cr toilets have been built in urban areas.

Assuming a coverage of 6 persons per toilet, these are enough to give sanitation cover to a 40 cr people out of the total Indian population of India is 130 cr.

Under the Swachh Bharat Mission, the central and state governments provide an assistance of Rs 4,000 each for the construction of toilets.

The mission was launched soon after Narendra Modi took over as prime minister of India, and has a target of achieving full sanitation coverage by Oct 2, 2019.

In the budget for the coming year, the government has provided for construction support for 2 cr toilets in 2018-19.

Out of a total of 707 districts in India, 312 Districts have been declared ‘open defecation free’ under the mission.

The 11 states that have achieved the status in entirety are Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Gujarat, Chandigarh, Daman and Diu, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Meghalaya.

The scheme is meant to improve the health of Indians by removing open defecation, which used to be practiced by over 60% of the Indians when Modi took over, going by the sanitation coverage ratio of 38.7%.

It is also expected to improve the security of women in rural areas who currently have to carry out their daily ablutions in the cover of darkness early in the morning or after sun down.

Besides toilets, the mission also emphasizes public cleanliness and urges citizens not to dump garbage on the roads — a common sight in India.