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Home > News > India News > Article > Instead of suppressing data open and transparent audit of toilet usage sanitation needed Congress

Instead of suppressing data, open and transparent audit of toilet usage, sanitation needed: Congress

Updated on: 01 December,2023 07:27 PM IST  |  New Delhi
mid-day online correspondent |

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh also claimed that the use of toilets has been declining in India since 2018, especially among the Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities, and accused the BJP-led Centre of "suppressing data" while declaring victory over open defecation

Instead of suppressing data, open and transparent audit of toilet usage, sanitation needed: Congress

Jairam Ramesh. File Pic

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The Congress claimed on Friday that more than 25 per cent of the rural households still do not use a toilet regularly and demanded an open and transparent audit of toilet usage and sanitation in the country, reported news agency PTI.


Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh also claimed that the use of toilets has been declining in India since 2018, especially among the Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities, and accused the BJP-led Centre of "suppressing data" while declaring victory over open defecation, reported PTI.


Citing media reports, Jairam Ramesh alleged that the World Bank faced "a lot of heat" from the Narendra Modi government and had to withdraw its papers that said the repackaged Swachh Bharat Mission, launched after much hype, has not been sustained, reported PTI.


In a post on X, the Congress leader said the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan, launched in September 2011, was repackaged and rebranded as the Swachh Bharat Mission.

The Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan had launched massive programmes to make every gram panchayat open defecation-free, he said, adding that it had started popularising the use of bio-toilets in trains and "Swachhata Doots" like actress Vidya Balan were mobilised.

Innovative slogans were popularised and a concurrent evaluation by independent agencies was encouraged, Ramesh said.

"Now, a report from the World Bank shows that the repackaged Swachh Bharat Mission, launched after so much hype, has not been sustained. Usage of toilets has been declining in India since 2018, with the decline most concentrated among SC and ST communities," the Congress leader claimed citing a media report.

The report quoting sources claimed that the World Bank has withdrawn three papers, including one that flagged a "most concerning" decline in the use of toilets in rural India between 2018 and 2021, after the Centre allegedly questioned their findings.

"After the initial fanfare, the Prime Minister has moved onto other schemes, headlines and events. Staff for sanitation has been reduced and payments have been delayed. Indeed, far from tall claims about making India free from open defecation, over 25 per cent of rural households still do not regularly use a toilet," Ramesh said.

He claimed that the World Bank expectedly faced "a lot of heat" from the Modi government and had to withdraw the papers.

"Instead of suppressing data and declaring victory over open defecation, what is needed is an open and transparent audit of toilet usage and sanitation in India, along with reversing budget cuts. This is even more important at a time when India has been backsliding on many important health indicators since 2014 with sharp increases especially in anaemia and child malnutrition," Ramesh said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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