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Kerala, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Himachal, Chandigarh among 8 states, 2 UTs declared Open Defecation Free: Economic Survey 2018

Citing a UNICEF report, the Economic Survey said lack of sanitation is responsible for the death of more than 1,00,000 children in India annually.

business Updated: Jan 29, 2018 17:33 IST
Press Trust of India, New Delhi
Indian economy,GDP growth,Fuel prices
According to the World Bank estimates, the lack of sanitation facilities costs India over 6% of GDP, the Economic Survey 2018 said.(Vinay Santosh Kumar/HT File Photo)

The number of people defecating in open in rural areas has declined to 25 crore in January from 55 crore in October 2014, with eight states and two Union Territories declared as open defecation free (ODF), the Economic Survey said Monday.

Sanitation coverage in rural India increased substantially from 39% in 2014 to 76% in January 2018. With the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) on October 2, 2014, the sanitation coverage in rural India increased substantially. So far, 296 districts and 307,349 villages all over India have been declared ODF.

The states and UTs include Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Daman & Diu and Chandigarh.

Citing a UNICEF report, the Economic Survey said lack of sanitation is responsible for the death of over 1,00,000 children in India annually.

While the non-ODF districts have lower percentage of population with secondary education and reflect higher levels of diarrhoea and stunting, there has been a clear cut evidence of behavioural shift of the individuals in ODF areas due to larger presence and proactive work undertaken by village health and sanitation committees, the survey noted.

It further said in addition to the health benefits, there are also economic gains on becoming ODF areas.

“According to the World Bank estimates, the lack of sanitation facilities costs India over 6% of GDP,” the survey said, adding that as per UNICEF a household in an ODF village in rural India saves Rs 50,000 every year.

First Published: Jan 29, 2018 17:32 IST