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Disappearing Toilets & Data: The Truth Behind The ‘Success’ Of Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan

The Management Information System (MIS) also provides contradicting data. 

In the Urban leg of SBM (SBM-U), government initially rolled out a proposal for construction of 10.4 million individual household latrines (IHHL). In February 2017, the IHHL target was reduced to 6.64 million across 23 states and union territories (UTs). Andhra Pradesh’s IHHL target reduce by 52%.

No explanation was provided for this sudden change in targets. However, by the time IHHL targets were reduced, the state government had already claimed construction of number of toilets based on initial targets, reported IndiaSpend.

Interestingly, by November 2017-208,781 urban household toilets, which were earlier claimed to have been constructed across seven states and UTs, from the management information system (MIS).

Andhra Pradesh recorded the maximum number of disappeared toilets with 131,530. Uttar Pradesh lost close to 37,000 toilets, and Chandigarh had almost 13,000 fewer toilets between November 2016 to November 2017.

Besides the number of household toilets, the number of community and public toilets (CTs and PTs) also witnessed a reduction by 36,754 across five states during the same period.

In the month between October and November 2017, the number of CT/PTs completed reduced by 13,640 across 10 states, reported IndiaSpend.

Also Read: Uttar Pradesh: 50% Of The Districts Not Open Defecation Free Yet, Adityanath Govt Unlikely To Meet Next Target 

There are other discrepancies in the data provided on the MIS. One page reports that 10o per cent of the 51,734 wards had achieved door-to-door waste collection, but another page says that only 67% wards (55,913 out of 82,607) had achieved this

From the database of SBM-gramin or rural (SBM-G), several important information was taken off in 2018. Between January 2018 to September 2018, all data related to releases and expenditure of funds, conversion of insanitary toilets which foster manual scavenging, and several details of toilet construction was removed, observed Accountability Initiative.

Furthermore, Accountability Initiative also found that Rs 157 crore was spent on behaviour change efforts in 2014-15, which decreased to Rs 147 crore in 2015-16, and further to Rs 124 crore in 2016-17.

During this same time, the mission’s ‘achievements’ somehow increased, with 40,030, 135,652 and 167,090 ODF declarations in successive years. This means that in 2014-15 SBM-G convinced and converted millions of families at a cost of Rs 33,382 per village, which magically came down to Rs 10,837 in 2015-16, and Rs 7,421 in 2016-17.


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