Half of govt school toilets built by CPSEs lack basic amenities: CAG
At least half the government school toilets built by central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) under a scheme launched by the education ministry do not have even the basic hand-washing facility, an even greater necessity in COVID-19 affected times, a survey of over 2000 schools by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has found.
Lack of running water, poor maintenance and unavailability of separate toilets for girls continue to be the bane of Indian school goers, according to the CAG report tabled in Parliament on Wednesday.
The report mentions that the HRD ministry (now named the Education ministry) had, under the Swachh Vidyalaya Abhiyan (SVA) sought the help of CPSEs for construction of toilets in government schools.
As many as 53 CPSEs participated and constructed 1,40,997 toilets.
Seven CPSEs , National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL), National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC), Power Finance Corporation (PFC), Rural Electrification Corporation (REC), Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Coal India Limited constructed 1,30,703 toilets in total, at a cost of ₹2,162.60 crore. CAG examined the construction of toilets by these seven by surveying 2,695 toilets across 2048 schools in 15 States.
According to the findings, the CPSEs did not construct 83 toilets though these toilets were identified by them for construction. Of the remaining 2,612 toilets which were reported to have been constructed, 200 toilets were not found constructed in the respective schools and 86 toilets were only partially built.
“The non-existing and partially constructed toilets constituted 11 % of toilets surveyed,” CAG’s report pointed out.
Of the 1,967 co-educational schools, 99 schools had no functional toilets while 436 schools had only one functional toilet. The aim of providing separate toilets for boys and girls was not fulfilled in 535 schools, a sizeable 27 % of the sample.
Out of 2,326 constructed toilets surveyed, 691 or 30 % were found not in use mainly due to lack of running water, lack of cleaning arrangements, damages or other reasons such as the toilets being used for other purposes.
During the survey, 1,679 (72 %) out of 2,326 constructed toilets were found without running water.
Further, hand washing facility was not available in 1,279 (55 per cent) out of 2,326 constructed toilets, according to the report. The audit also found that 75% of selected toilets were not maintained hygienically.
CAG recommended the concerned ministries to look into the issue of non-existing and incomplete toilets that were claimed as constructed. It also asked the Navratanas and the ministries to address absence of basic amenities in the toilets .
Since the survey covered 2% of total toilets, the CPSEs are advised to review the remaining 98% and take appropriate action, the report said.