Govt sets ambitious target for toilets in every school

HRD minister Smriti Irani has asked states to build toilets for girls in every school by July 2015. Stakeholders have to move fast to measure up, but HT’s campaign to tackle this problem shows the solution is within reach.

india Updated: Aug 27, 2014 14:34 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

Moving forward on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for building toilets for girls in every school, human resource development (HRD) minister Smriti Irani has asked states to meet the target by July next year.

She suggested the deadline at state education secretaries meet on Tuesday, requesting them to “prepare an action plan for construction of toilets in all government schools so that the goal set by Prime Minister for providing all government schools with toilets within one year becomes a reality”.

The government has already identified the schools which are without toilets in every district down to the block. Around 50% of the schools without toilets are in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal.

The problem exists in other states too. HT has already initiated a campaign across Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Jammu and Kashmir to get authorities to address the problem. The results have been encouraging.

Read: Toilets raise stink in Chandigarh schools, 300 girls forced to share one toilet

After HT highlighted the issue, Jalandhar MP Chaudhary Santokh Singh visited two schools and announced a grant of Rs 4 lakh from his MPLAD for toilets.

At Tuesday’s meet, the government discussed strategy to tap funds from corporate bodies under their social responsibility outreach, said Union education secretary R Bhattacharya.

Minister for drinking water and sanitation, Nitin Gadkari, also prepared a Cabinet note for enhancement of monetary support for building different categories of rural toilets in the country.

Under the new proposal, rural households without sanitation will get Rs 15,000 each for constructing toilets while schools will get Rs 54,000 for same purpose.

The PM has made ‘Swachh Bharat’ (clean India) one of his priorities. Accordingly, the government is targeting the lack of toilets in rural areas.

A study from Ask How India has focused on the problem of open defecation and tried to answer how it can be reduced. Here’s a look at the study.

First Published: Aug 27, 2014 10:51 IST