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Release of r.i.c.e and Accountability Initiative's research study "Changes in open defecation in rural north India: 2014-2018."

Blog Post1 min read

r.i.c.e is delighted to share that the release of the new research study on "Changes in open defecation in rural north India: 2014-2018” was held at India Habitat Centre (IHC) on the 9th January 2018.

The study, which was conducted in collaboration with the Accountability Initiative (AI) of the Centre for Policy Research (CPR), reports on the findings from the two surveys.  The first survey visited rural Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh in late 2018, and collected data on 9,812 people and interviewed 156 local government officials. The second survey, in Udaipur district, visited 505 households in 19 villages and 60 households in 2 census towns.   This new study sheds light on what the Swachh Bharat Mission did and on changes in open defecation since 2014. It is informative about changes because researchers revisited families who participated in a 2014 survey.

Sangita presented the main findings from the research.  Broadly, these are:

  • the Swachh Bharat Mission has built a lot of latrines: 57% of   households without a latrine in 2014 had one by 2018;
  • this has reduced open defecation more quickly than before but open defecation is by no means eliminated: 44 %of rural people over two years old in rural Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh defecate in the open;
  • and reductions may not be sustained, as it happened through threats and coercion: people being stopped while defecating in the open, government benefits being threatened, and fines. Among households that own a latrine, Dalits are over twice as likely to report experiencing one of these three forms of coercion. Adivasis were almost three times as likely.

Find Sangita's presentation slides here. The working paper on the study is available here.

It was amazing to see a large turnout for the event and lively post-presentation discussions.

The study has been covered in The Hindu, Livemint, Firstpost, IndiaSpend, Swarajya, The Wire, Scroll, BloombergQuint, Dainik Bhaskar and Navbharat Times among others.  We'll be updating the "News" section of the website as more articles come out!


r.i.c.e. is a non-profit research organization focused on health and well-being in India. Our core focus is on children in rural north India. Our research studies health care at the start of life, sanitation, air pollution, maternal health, social inequality, and other dimensions of population-level social wellbeing.

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