About 4.5% of the households in the rural areas and about 2.1% of the households in the urban areas reported that water was not available in or around the latrine used (Photo: Bloomberg)
About 4.5% of the households in the rural areas and about 2.1% of the households in the urban areas reported that water was not available in or around the latrine used (Photo: Bloomberg)

25% of rural India's households don't have access to sanitation: NSO survey

  • Hand pumps major source of drinking water in rural India, reveals a report by the National Statistical Office
  • The report has also highlighted that even after having access to latrines, people are not using them

New Delhi: While a quarter of population still don't have access to sanitation facilities, hand pumps continue to be the major source of drinking water for households in rural areas, a report by the National Statistical Office (NSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has said.

According to the survey, about 42.9% of the households in the rural areas used hand pump as the principal source of drinking water and about 40.9% of the households in the urban areas used piped water into dwelling as the principal source of drinking water.

“About 48.6% of the households in the rural and about 57.5% in the urban areas had exclusive access to principal source of drinking water. About 87.6% of the households in the rural and about 90.9% in the urban areas had sufficient drinking water throughout the year from the principal source. About 58.2% of the households in the rural and about 80.7% in the urban areas had drinking water facilities within the household premises," the report said.

About 94.5% of the households in the rural and about 97.4% in the urban areas used ‘improved source of drinking water’ viz. bottled water, piped water into dwelling, piped water to yard/plot, piped water from neighbour, public tap/standpipe, tube well, hand pump, protected well, public tanker truck, private tanker truck, protected spring and rainwater collection, he report said adding that about 51.4% of the households in the rural and about 72.0% in the urban areas used improved source of drinking water, sufficiently available throughout the year located in the premises.

The ministry conducted the survey on household social consumption related to Drinking Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Housing Condition as a part of 76th round of National Sample Survey (NSS). Data was collected from 1,06,838 households--63,736 in rural areas and 43,102 in urban areas--from 5,378 sample villages in rural areas and 3,614 sample Urban Frame Survey (UFS) blocks in urban areas following a scientific survey methodology.

The main objective of the survey was to collect information on facilities of drinking water, sanitation along with housing facilities available to the households and the micro environment surrounding the houses which are important determinants of overall quality of living condition of the people.

“It’s encouraging to see significant increase in access to improved water supply sources and use of toilets by families especially women. Bigger challenges remain on about waste water disposal both in rural and urban areas, which provide ideal breeding ground for insects. Sewer connections are still not available at many urban areas. Report is a wakeup call for undertaking for design and implementation of appropriate programs and intensified action in areas such as small scale waste water management systems in rural areas," said Dinesh Aggarwal, Technical health advisor, IPE Global.

The survey has revealed that a quarter of rural households still do not have access to sanitation. While about 71.3% of the households in the rural and about 96.2% in the urban areas had access to latrines, the report said adding that there may be respondent bias in the reporting of access to latrine as question on benefits received by the households from government schemes was asked prior to the question on access of households to latrine.

Among the households which had access to latrine, about 94.7% of the males and 95.7% of the females in the rural areas used latrine regularly while about 98.0% of the males and 98.1% of the females in the urban areas used latrine regularly, report said.

The report has also highlighted that even after having access to latrines, people are not using them. “Among the households which had access to latrine, about 3.5% of the household members in the rural areas and about 1.7% of the household members in the urban areas never used latrine," the report said.

The survey findings also pointed out that among the households using latrine, about 4.5% of the households in the rural areas and about 2.1% of the households in the urban areas reported that water was not available in or around the latrine used.

“This continues to be a serious problem as untreated human waste contaminates water supplies and makes people prone to a whole host of water borne diseases. Inadequate sanitation is not only responsible for the incidence of diarrhoeal diseases, but also contributes to deaths caused due to pneumonia, malnutrition and neonatal disorders," said Savitha Kuttan, CEO, Omnicuris, a social health enterprise.

“The risk of disease outbreaks not only poses harm to the lives of people but also reduces their work time making it difficult for them to escape poverty. If municipal governments find it difficult to operate large sanitation systems, then the least they can do is ensure that there are enough portable toilets connected de-sledging vehicles so that the waste finds its way into septic tanks and not the water supply," she said.

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