research institute for compassionate economics

Costly sanitation campaigns, but very little to show for it

Written by Nikhil Srivastav on October 7th, 2014
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Ajai Sreevatsan of The Hindu in his meticulous analysis of the profligate sanitation programs in India, uses SQUAT survey and argues that constructing toilet alone is not enough. He says

“The Swachh Bharat mission would place overwhelming emphasis on constructing toilets, with plans afoot to build over a 100 million of them in rural areas alone in the next five years. But if prior experience is anything to go by, many of them would either not be built or not used. Unofficial studies like the SQUAT survey, which was done in five northern States, show that in at least 40 per cent of households with a newly built toilet, a member of the family was still defecating in the open. Cultural conditioning and tradition were some of the reasons for poor adoption, the survey found.

Despite strong evidence that shows constructing toilets alone is not enough, Swachh Bharat would carry forward the hardware-led solution that has been repeatedly tried by governments in the past.”

Read the full story here