Dr. S. K. Mishra And Prabhleen Kaur


Dr. S. K. Mishra, Issues Related to Sanitation from the Perspective of Development|http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgfzsIKTm1A



A Society cannot progress unless its members progress and achieve refinement. The opportunity for progress and refinement should percolate down to the last member of society. Health plays a prominent role in achieving this goal. Thus a vital component of a developed society is the health of its citizens. A healthy body harbours a healthy mind and there an urgent need to create awareness regarding health and sanitation. Proper sanitation is needed to build a healthy society. Despite all progress and development today the modern world especially India, suffers from poor sanitation. This lack of proper sanitation leads to ill health of members of the society.

It seems that lack of sanitation has emerged as one of the prominent stumbling blocks in the process of development of society in the 21st century. Keeping this in view as a serious challenge before us, the present paper makes an attempt to raise issues related to sanitation. These concerns have been raised by a number of social scientists time and again at different platforms.

Problem of Sanitation in India

The absence of required sanitation in India has caused a loss of 6.5% of the GDP per annum by the 20% of the slum dwellers in India. Overall sanitation coverage in rural India is a dismal 34.8%; for Scheduled castes and Scheduled tribes it is 23.7% and 25% respectively. The situation of sanitation is even worse in the tribal society of India. This is an indication of alarming situation regarding Public Health, Social Deprivation, and Environmental Sanitation and so on in India.

As a matter of fact, the situation of sanitation has not been so bad in India if analysed from a historical perspective. The archeological excavations in India have revealed the Harappan Model of urban sanitation. We also know the views of the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi on sanitation. In the modern period, the world witnessed another economical and most effective Sulabh International Model of Sanitation introduced by Mr. Bindeshwar Pathak. But even then the coverage of sanitation is far less than what is required on the developmental scale. Till now, access to proper sanitation has remained the privilege of only a small section of the society in India.

Impor tant data related to situation of Sanitation in India

As far as the access to improved sanitation is concerned, it is 54% in urban areas, 21% in rural areas and the total stands at 31% in the year 2008 in India. The share of collected wastewater treated was 27% in the year 2003. Also the annual investment in water supply and sanitation stood at US $ 5/ per capita.

Institutions and Laws in this sector

If we focus on the existence of various institutions and laws in this sector in India, the following picture is revealed:

  • Water and Sanitation regulator – No
  • National Water and Sanitation co. – No
  • Sector Law – No
  • Decentralisation to municipalities – Partial
  • Number of Service Providers: Urban – 3,255, Rural – about 1,00,000

National Urban Sanitation Policy

As regards the sanitation policy, 12 states in India were in the process of either elaborating or had completed the state sanitation policy. Around 120 cities in India were in the process of framing city sanitation plans in 2010. Also 436 cities rated themselves in terms of their achievements and process concerning sanitation. The rating serves as the base line to measure improvements in the future and to prioritise action.
The following data reveals the rating:

  • About 40% were in the Red category (in need of immediate remedial action).
  • 50% were in the Black category (needing considerable improvement).
  • Only handful in Blue category (recovering).
  • Not a single one in the Green category.



The 11th Five Year Plan (2007-2012) foresees investments worth Rs. 127.025 crores for urban water supply and sanitation, including urban (stormwater) drainage.

Review of Perfor mance in the 11th Five Year Plan:

The 11th Five Year Plan was successful in improving the situation of sanitation to a certain extent. Rural sanitation coverage in India in the beginning of the 11th Five Year Plan was at 39% and by the end of the 11th Five Year Plan it was 71%. The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), 2010, data shows that 65.2% (Rural) and 11% (Urban) areas have no sanitation facility in households. Also the Joint Monitoring Report of WHO/UNICEF, 2010, mentions that 638 million people defecate in open. According to the report, the sanitation coverage in rural areas in 2008 was – 21% (improved), 4 % (shared) 6% (unimproved) and rest 69% in open.

Percentage of open defecation in Rural areas in South Asian countries (2008):

  • India – 69 %
  • Nepal – 60 %
  • Pakistan – 40 %
  • Afghanistan – 20 %
  • Maldives – 4 %
  • Bangladesh – 8 %
  • Bhutan – 11 %
  • Sri Lanka – 1 %

NSSO (2008-09)

The data collected by National Sample Survey Organisation (2008-2009) regarding the availability of latrine facilities has been mentioned below.
As per the findings of the NSSO:

  • 75 % Scheduled Tribes,
  • 76 % Scheduled Castes,
  • 69 % Other Backward Classes, and
  • 43 % other communities; posses no latrine facility.


Relevant Issues to be Raised

The present situation of sanitation in India, calls for an immediate action. There is need to hold comprehensive dialogue with the academia, administrators and representatives of civil society. This will help frame issues for further researches.

The Department of Sociology, Janardan Rai Nagar Rajasthan Vidyapeeth (Deemed) University, Udaipur, Rajasthan has been involved in doing research in the field of sanitation. The Department has conducted empirical studies concerning the existence and condition of sanitation facilities in urban areas of Rajasthan. The study covered various cities of Rajasthan including Alwar, Bhilwara, Chittorgarh, Hanumangarh, Jodhpur, Kapasan, Pali, Pushkar, Shahpura, Tonk and Udaipur. The issue of sanitation is extremely essential and there is immense scope for research in this field.


There is a need to conceptualize the perspectives of development from the sanitation point of view. There should be a future road-map to strengthen & enhance the methodology of interventions. Sanitation, especially with regard to the Tribal, Rural, Urban Divide; the conditions of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in India as well as their ethnic practices need special attention. As far as the Public Health is concerned, specific Actions Programmes have to be developed. The role of the professionals and the civil society in this regard is important. The socially deprived sections of the society and their condition as regards sanitation, also needs to be looked at and improved through focussed interventions. Drawing attention to such vital issues, related to sanitation is a key to the development of society.


  • Census of India, New Delhi: Government of India, 2001.
  • National Sample Survey Organisation, New Delhi: Government of India, 2008.
  • National Sample Survey Organisation, New Delhi: Government of India, 2010.
  • www.wikipedia.org


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