New Delhi: The Grand Alliance that went on to form the government in Bihar in 2015 made promises of providing basic facilities including electricity, water and roads, issues that are new to the state. What seems to have resonated with voters in Bihar could be a key indicator for other parties to look at in upcoming state elections, including West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
According to the first phase of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) 2015-16, Bihar saw an increase in sanitation facilities from 14.6% in 2005-06 to 25.2% in 2015-16. The first phase covered 13 states including Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Haryana and Tamil Nadu and two Union Territories.
Apart from sanitation, another issue which played a decisive role was the availability of drinking water. The NFHS-4 data saw an increase in drinking water availability in Bihar to 98.2% in 2015-16 from 96.1% in 2005-06. Similar increase was also visible in West Bengal where it rose to 94.6% in 2015-16 up from 93.7%. The availability of drinking water source in households fell in Tamil Nadu from 91.4% in 2005-06 to 90.6% in 2015-16.
The NFHS-4 data shows that improving sanitation facilities has been a key issue for state governments among other poll-bound states as well. Among the states headed for poll in 2016 to be covered in the first phase are West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. While West Bengal saw an increase from 34.7% to 50.9%, Tamil Nadu stood at 52.2% from 22.4%. In Puducherry, 65% of the households have improved sanitation facilities.
Healthcare facilities also saw improvement. In Bihar, institutional births in public facilities saw a jump from 3.5% in 2005-06 to 47.7% in 2015-16. West Bengal and Tamil Nadu also saw an increase of 20 percentage points each.