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Rajasthan Swachh Bharat Mission report card better than several developed states

The Times of India Feb 6, 2017, 09.38 AM IST Shoeb Khan

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Rajasthan declared 39% of its villages as Open Defecation-Free (ODF) till January 10, 2017, says the latest report accessed from the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) management information system (MIS). Country's biggest state that covers 10% of the country's land has made slight progress from 15% villages declared ODF in 2015-16 to 39% villages till January 10. The data was accessed by Accountability Initiative, an advocacy group based in Delhi.

Himachal Pradesh and Kerala have attained 100% ODF in rural areas while Haryana is inching towards attaining the cent percent with 84%. The worst has come from Bihar with just 2% villages declared ODF followed by neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh with 4% villages as ODF. Notably, central government verified an aggregate of 40% villages that were declared ODF till the same period.

Rajasthan is leading with a fair margin even among the economically advanced states—Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The success has come at a cost. Rajasthan is among the top three states to have overshot the budgetary allocation for Swachh Bharat Mission. Report says that Rajasthan had spent 219% which is little over two times the budgetary allocation amount till January 10, 2017. Neighbouring MP has spent 7 times the amount till the same period but is far behind all developmental parameters under Swachh Bharat Mission.

Of the total budget, Rajasthan has spent 99% amount on construction of Individual Household Latrines (IHHL) while one per cent is used on other activities of SBM like construction of community sanitary complexes, construction of Anganwadi toilets, information education and communication activities to push behaviour change. It goes against the guidelines which say at least 8% amount should be spent on non-IHHL functions of the SBM.

The IHHL are low-cost toilets provided to Below Poverty Line households and certain category of above poverty line household such as scheduled caste and scheduled tribes along with marginal farmers, landless labourers, physically handicapped and women headed households. "Post construction, an incentive of Rs 12,000 is given to the household. The funds are shared between the central and state government in 60:40 ratio," says report. This year a total of 1.2 crore toilets were constructed till January 10, 2017.

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