Urban Water and Sanitation in India

  • F H Mughal
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Urban Water and Sanitation in India

Urban Water and Sanitation in India

The recently (Oct 2017) released report by USAID, Coca-Cola India, and TERI titled “State of Urban Water and Sanitation in India” is a interesting document, reviewing the progress in urban water and sanitation in India over the last 3 years. It provides an opportunity to strengthen two flagship missions of the Government of India, namely the National Skill Development Mission and the Swachh Bharat Mission (Clean India). Swachh Bharat is a popular Indian program, but I haven’t heard about the other one, i.e., National Skill Development Mission.

Giving an outline of progress under Swachh Bharat Mission, the report says that the number of toilets – individual household latrines, community toilets, and public toilets – has increased. The proportion of people resorting to open defecation (OD) in urban India has decreased from 23.5% in 2000 to 7.4% in 2015 (JMP 2017).

Collection of solid waste now covers 43 000 wards (2016), up from 34 000 in 2015/16. More and more of waste is now processed, and the infrastructure to treat waste too is more extensive. Public awareness of, and sensitivity to, cleanliness in the country are now far greater.

The report makes 5 recommendations. These are:

1. Improve the regulatory mechanism
2. Enhance capacities of urban local bodies
3. Undertake strategic planning and implementation of sectoral programmes
4. Foster an enabling environment for financing
5. Improve data management, monitoring, and review

While the above 5 recommendations are important, in the context of Pakistan, the data management, monitoring and review is poor. Accurate data is key to strategic planning to develop water and sanitation services and for managing them in a rational way. Reliable data is Pakistan is lacking, with different agencies reporting varying progress in water and sanitation field.

The progress under Swachh Bharat Mission (number of toilets has increased; and the OD percentage in urban India has decreased from 23.5% in 2000 to 7.4% in 2015) is impressive. Pakistan lacks far behind on this account.

It is said that Bangladesh has made great progress in the field of OD. Figures of OD have been brought down to zero. I’m looking for the Bangladesh reports that give progress on OD.

F H Mughal

F H Mughal (Mr.)
Karachi, Pakistan
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