A first-ever survey of sanitation standards in 75 districts of rural India has found Sindhudurg in Maharashtra the cleanest in the country.
For the 2016 Swachh Survekshan, the results for which was released on Thursday, 75 cleanest districts were identified on the basis of data available with the drinking water and sanitation ministry. These districts were then ranked on four parameters: access to toilets, usage, littering in public places, and households having stagnant waste water in their premises.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Mission, an ambitious Rs 1.96 lakh crore programme to promote cleanliness in India by 2019, with fanfare two years ago. But three districts in his home state, Gujarat — Ahmedabad, Anand and Panchmahal — were found lagging on all four parameters among the 53 districts located in the plains, with poor access to sanitation facilities, litter in public places and stagnant wastewater.
“The ranking aims to make sure that the knowledge of best practices is spread and a sense of competitiveness is triggered among states and districts,” said Parameswaran Iyer, secretary, ministry of drinking water and sanitation.
The survey covered 53 districts located in the plains and 22 in hill states and the North-East. As many as 13 out of the 53 districts chosen were from Gujarat. Dungarpur, Pali and Ajmer in Rajasthan were found to be laggards — all three are ranked in the bottom five.
Among the cleanest districts in the plains were Sindhudurg (Maharashtra), Nadia (West Bengal), Satatra (Maharashtra), Midnapore East (West Bengal) and Kolhapur (Maharashtra).
Besides, the government also ranked 26 states on the basis of availability of toilets and their usage. Sikkim, Kerala, Mizoram, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland claimed the top five spot, with toilet usage ranging from 88% to 98%. Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha fared the worst, with just 17% to 24% households having access to sanitation facilities.
It is the first-such survey carried out in rural India to rank villages based on various sanitation and cleanliness parameters. The urban development ministry, which is implementing the programme in urban India, conducted a similar survey twice in cities and towns.
Commissioned by the drinking water and sanitation ministry, the survey was done in two parts. In the first, 26 states were ranked on the basis of 2015 NSSO data; in the second part, 75 districts covering 70,000 households were also ranked.
Of the 22 districts in hilly and north-eastern states that were surveyed, Mandi in Himachal Pradesh is the cleanest, and Anjaw in Arunachal Pradesh was ranked at the bottom.