Join the SuSanA India Chapter thematic discussion: From missing market incentives to misaligned incentives. What is choking India’s rural sanitation progress?

You are cordially invited to join the current thematic online discussion “From missing market incentives to misaligned incentives. What is choking India’s rural sanitation progress?” on the SuSanA Discussion Forum:

The discussion is organised by PSI and the India Sanitation Coalition and is running until 15 December.

Aprajita Singh, from PSI, has opened the discussion by pointing out that India launched a reformed national rural sanitation programme, the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin (SBM-G) on 2nd October, 2014 with a mandate of reaching over 11 crore (110 million) households with improved toilets by 2019. In the process, this would eliminate open defecation. This is an extremely ambitious target.  SBM was transformational in its design, attempting to learn from past mistakes and intended with the highest possible political and national ownership; it promised to be a game changer for rural sanitation in India.

However, performance of states has differed widely. As of November, 2017, the increase in sanitation coverage was a low 22.87 per cent in poor performers. While a few better performing states like Rajasthan registered an impressive 45.17 percentage increase, states with high rates of open defecation like Bihar and UP, remained laggards with only 14.9 and 12.70 per cent increases, respectively. With 7.9 crore toilets to be constructed till October 2019 in the next 34 months all the states combined will need to construct an average of 23.24 lakh IHHLs per month. This is nearly double the rate at which construction has taken place so far (at 11.42 lakh toilets per month).

Population Services International undertook a policy landscape study that undertook a review of existing literature and conducted key informant interviews with the aim to understand the policy landscape of SBM-G, key functions and the key players (private, public, formal, informal). Additionally, it sought to understand the enablers and barriers in the existing policy in terms of its overall effectiveness, or level of coverage or access. This was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF).

The insights from the landscape study suggest the following choke points:

  • The incremental increases in SBMG allocations
  • Presence of a fragmented supply chain
  • Missing incentives for market behaviours
  • There is a need for the SBM-G to have a strategic stewardship role to unblock market barriers and stand guarantee for unlocking demand. This could catalyse other forms of capital investments from both private and corporate sectors.

The thematic discussion would like SuSanA members to react to these findings, especially the choke points that the study has identified. Additionally, share ideas on – What are the root causes of these chokepoints and How can these root causes be addressed?

 Please suggest how SBM-G can play a strategic stewardship role to overcoming these problems. Your inputs will inform the policy papers that PSI is working to support the emerging policy advocacy needs.

To contribute to the discussion, please either post directly on the SuSanA Forum or write an Email to

We are looking forward to your contributions!

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