Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan failed to achieve its desired targets: CAG
Report says unless overall governance at the grass-root level improves, more deployment of resources may not have a significant impact
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New Delhi: The massive Total Sanitation Campaign launched by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and carried through by his successor Manmohan Singh failed to achieve its targets and make a dent in India’s sanitation status, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) said in a report.
CAG’s report on the Total Sanitation Campaign, later renamed Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan, was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday. It suggested that unless implementation is based on realistic planning and backed by large-scale IEC (information, education and communication) campaigns to bring about behavioural change in the target population, and unless overall governance at the grass-root level improves, more deployment of resources may not have a significant impact.
“Our audit has brought out planning level weaknesses which were critical for the success of programme. Nearly Rs.10,000 crore was spent on the rural sanitation programme by the central government in the five years covered by audit and large scale diversions, wastages and irregularities were noted. More than 30% of individual household latrines (IHHLs) were defunct/non-functional for reasons like poor quality of construction, incomplete structure, non-maintenance etc.,” the report said.
Although it was launched in 1999, the CAG audit covered the Total Sanitation Campaign and Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan from 2009 to 2014.
The report said, “Against the objective of construction of 426.32 lakh and 469.76 lakh IHHLs for below poverty line and above poverty line families, respectively, project districts could construct only 222.32 lakh (52.15%) and 207.55 lakh (44.18%) IHHLs during 2009-10 to 2013-14.”
Pointing out discrepancies in the reported results, the report added, “The (water resources, and drinking water and sanitation) ministry has shown an achievement of construction of 693.92 lakh IHHLs up to February 2011 in 16 states against a figure of 367.53 lakh households (Census 2011) having toilets within the premises, in these states.”
Pointing to a case in the management of funds, the CAG report said the ministry released only 48% of the funds demanded by the states and 16 states did not release their share of funds during 2009-14.
“Despite availability of funds of Rs.13,494.63 crore, only Rs.10,157.93 crore was spent on scheme implementation during the period 2009-10 to 2013-14. The unspent amount on annual basis varied between 40% to 56%,” the report pointed out.
In another case, it said money remained unused in states.
“It was noted in nine states of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir, Kerala, Manipur, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal that an amount of Rs.212.14 crore remained parked/unutilized for periods ranging between 4 months to 29 months at state/district/block/gram panchayat level,” it said.
Stressing the need for IEC and convergence, the report said, “We found that due importance was not given to IEC and 25% of the total IEC expenditure during the years 2009-10 to 2011-12 was incurred on activities unrelated to IEC.”
The report added, “Audit found that there was no convergence during 2009-12 with other schemes. During 2012-14 only a small percentage (6% on an average) IHHLs were constructed in convergence with Indira Awas Yojana and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.”
The Total Sanitation Campaign was launched with the main objective of providing access to toilets to all by 2012, and providing sanitation facilities in all schools and Anganwadis (creches) by March 2013.
In 2012, the Total Sanitation Campaign was renamed Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan with the modified objective of achieving the vision of Nirmal Bharat (Pure India) by 2022.
On 2 October 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Mission, which aims to eradicate open defecation by 2019, thus restructuring the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan.