India launches national monitoring of toilet use
By Cor Dietvorst
How does India’s new large-scale sanitation monitoringeffort compare with similar initiatives in Bangladesh and Indonesia?
According to some media the Indian government has unleashed “toilet police” or “toilet gestapo” into the country. In fact, the central government has instructed local officials to take photographs of new toilets to prove that they have not only been constructed but are also being used. If states don’t upload photos by February 2015, the water and sanitation ministry has threatened to withhold funding from a new national sanitation programme.
Open defecation free by 2019
Prime MinisterNarendra Modi launched the Swachh Bharat (Clean India) Mission on 2 October 2014. His aim is to attain a 100 per cent open defecation free India by 2019. Since the launch over half a million household toilets have been constructed.
By implementing “real time monitoring” the government hopes it can correct past mistakes caused by ineffective monitoring and wasted investment in sanitation. The 2011 census revealed that 43% of government funded toilets were either “missing” or non-functional. Now the government wants to show that its investments in sanitation are delivering lasting results.
The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation is appointing around 2 dozen additional staff including two Joint Secretaries and 4 Directors to strengthen the implementation and monitoring of the Swachh Bharat Mission. An Expert Committee for innovative sanitation technologies and a national telephone helpline for rural water supply and sanitation are other new initiatives that will support the Mission.