India: US$ 7.9 billion needed to provide toilets to everyone

A study by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) estimates that US$ 7.9 billion is needed to provide toilets for all households that currently lack toilets in India. Of that amount, US$ 4.7 billion is needed for rural areas, and US$ 3.2 billion for urban areas [1].

This figure exceeds the National Commission on Macroeconomics and Health (2005) estimate for ensuring universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation.

To connect all urban households lacking underground drainage to sewer systems would cost about U$ 7.7 billion and for rural households, about US$ 25 billion.

Since these financing requirements are so huge, the ADB paper suggests progressive improvement in the types of sanitation solutions. Sewerage systems tend to benefit richer households; hence, some form of capital cost recovery could be considered to finance sewerage-related infrastructure.

The ADB paper also calls for greater attention for the on the disadvantaged – households from the poorest quintile and scheduled tribes – and the states that have consistently underperformed (Orissa, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh) could help accelerate further progress.

[1] Bonu, S. and Kim, H. (2009). Sanitation in India : progress, differentials, correlates, and challenges. (South Asia occassional paper series : no. 2). Manila, Philippines, Asia Development Bank. ix, 35 p. : 16 fig., 5 tab. ISBN 978-971-561-828-1

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