Open defecation “serious threat“ to health: Report
New Delhi, Oct 21 (PTI) Despite an increase in the number of toilets, open defecation remains the single largest threat to health and nutritional status in the country, a report said today.
India Human Development Report 2011, brought out by Institute of Applied Manpower Research of the Planning Commission, also pointed out that a greater proportion of Muslim households compared to SCs/STs had access to sanitation facilities, largely due to their urban concentration.
“Open defecation is a serious threat to health and nutritional status, in addition to the safety of women and girls,” the report, released by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, said.
According to the report, about half of Indian households lacked access to sanitation facilities in 2008-09. More than 60 per cent of households in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand were without toilets.
“The situation is more dismal in rural areas, particularly in these states, where more than 75 per cent households do not have toilet facilities. Even if a single household is defecating in the open, that household can be a source of diarrhoea for all households,” it said.
Rural Development Minister Ramesh, who is also holding the portfolio of Drinking Water and Sanitation, said out of six lakh villages in the country, only 25,000 villages have been declared as ”nirmal grams”.
“There is a serious budgetary constraint. We have to get more funding into the sanitation sector. Sanitation is in a bad shape,” he told reporters.