Which are the cleanest villages in India? How many of them manage their solid and liquid waste effectively? Answers to these and more will form the basis of the first ever cleanliness survey aimed at ranking over 6.5 lakh villages in the country.
Being conducted by the ministry of drinking water and sanitation, which implements Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious Swachh Bharat Mission in rural areas, the survey will roll out from August 15 across the country.
“An index of village cleanliness is being finalised based on which they will be ranked. There will be three broad parameters – visual cleanliness of villages, if they are open-defecation free and how effectively they are managing their solid and liquid waste,” said Parmeshwaram Iyer, the ministry secretary.
The respective gram sabha functionaries will carry out the survey of the village ‘swachhta’ along with state government officials, and the first result will be out October, an official said.
So far, of the over 6.5 lakh villages in 677 districts, only about 60,000 villages across 16 districts have been declared open-defecation free.
According to the 2011 Census, 67% of the rural households in India are without toilet. Under the Swachh Bharat Mission launched in October 2014 to make India clean and open defecation free by 2019, the government intends to build 12 crore toilets in rural settlements and 1.04 crore toilets in urban ones. The total budget of Rs 1.96 lakh crore has been allocated till 2019.
In February 2015, a similar survey was conducted by the Union urban development ministry, spanning 476 cities and municipalities. Karnataka’s Mysuru was found to be the cleanest city while Dhanbad in Jharkhand the filthiest. The ministry is implementing the urban leg of the program.
A World Bank report on ‘Economic impacts of inadequate sanitation’, released in December 2010, had estimated that the total annual economic impact amounted to Rs 2.4 trillion in 2006, equivalent to 6.4 % of the gross domestic product.
The per capita annual impact on account of poor sanitation in India was calculated at Rs 2,180, which is much higher as compared to some of smaller South Asian countries such as Vietnam, where the annual per capita losses due to poor sanitation facilities is Rs 421 (US$9.3), and Rs 761 (US$16.8) in the Philippines.