Sanitation in Urban And Rural Settlements of India

A safe and sustainable water supply, basic sanitation and good hygiene are fundamental for a healthy, productive and dignified life. And yet many of the world’s poor people lack access to an improved water supply and improved sanitation facilities.  Most Indians depend on on-site sanitation facilities. Recently, access to on-site sanitation has increased in both rural and urban areas. In urban areas, a good practice is the Slum Sanitation Program in Mumbai that has provided access to sanitation for a quarter million slum dwellers. Sewerage, where available, is often in a bad state. In Delhi the sewerage network has lacked maintenance over the years and overflow of raw sewage in open drains is common, due to blockage, and inadequate pumping capacities. This is of greater concern as 88% of deaths from diarrhea occur because of unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.

 Poor access to water, sanitation and hygiene results in tremendous human and economic costs and reinforces gender and other societal inequalities, most notably for women and girls. Chronic diarrheal diseases debilitate victims and, coupled with malnutrition, induce a negative spiral into poverty. Rapidly increasing populations, more migration from rural to urban areas and the feminization of the rural economy are significantly changing the rural context. Such changes augment the vulnerability of many poor rural people and demand innovative approaches to the provision of rural water, sanitation and hygiene (RWSH). Drinking water supply and sanitation in India continue to be inadequate, despite longstanding efforts by the various levels of government and communities at improving coverage.


Policies and Regulations

The responsibility for water supply and sanitation at the central and state level is shared by various Ministries. At the central level three Ministries have responsibilities in the sector: The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation is responsible for rural water supply and sanitation; the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and the Ministry of Urban Development share the responsibility for urban water supply and sanitation.

1.     National Urban Sanitation Policy.

In November 2008, Government of India launched a national urban sanitation policy with the goal of creating what it calls "totally sanitized cities" that are open-defecation free, safely collect and treat all their wastewater, eliminate manual scavenging and collect and dispose solid waste safely. As of 2010, 12 states were in the process of elaborating or had completed state sanitation strategies on the basis of the policy. 120 cities are in the process of preparing city sanitation plans. Furthermore, 436 cities rated themselves in terms of their achievements and processes concerning sanitation in an effort supported by the Ministry of Urban Development with the assistance of several donors. About 40% of the cities were in the "red category" (in need of immediate remedial action), more than 50% were in the "black category" (needing considerable improvement) and only a handful of cities were in the "blue category" (recovering). Not a single city was included in the "green category" (healthy and clean city). The rating serves as a baseline to measure improvements in the future and to prioritize actions. The government intends to award a prize called Nirmal Shahar Puraskar to the best sanitation performers.



2.     Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) or NIRMAL BHARAT ABHIYAAN

Total Sanitation Campaign is a comprehensive programme to ensure sanitation facilities in rural areas with the broader goal to eradicate the practice of open defecation. To add vigor to the TSC, in October 2003, Government of India initiated an incentive scheme named the 'Nirmal Gram Puraskar’ (NGP). NGP is given to those "open defecation free" Nirmal Gram Panchayats, Blocks, and Districts which have become fully sanitized. The incentive provision is for Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) as well as individuals and organizations that are the driving force for full sanitation coverage.  A "Nirmal Gram" is an "Open Defecation Free" village where all houses, Schools and Anganwadis having toilets and awareness amongst community on the importance of maintaining personal and community hygiene and clean environment. 

Link -


3. School Sanitation and Hygiene Education Program (SSHE)

School Sanitation and Hygiene Education, widely known as SSHE, is a comprehensive programme to ensure child friendly water supply, toilet and hand washing facilities in the schools and promote behavioral change by hygiene education. SSHE not only ensures child’s right to have healthy and clean environment but also leads to an effective learning and enrolment of girls in particular, and reduce diseases and worm infestation. SSHE was introduced in the Central Rural Sanitation Programme in 1999 both in TSC as well as in allocation based component. At present, SSHE is implemented under Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) and given special thrust by following the proven route of teacher-children-family-community where child is a change-agent playing an effective role on sustained basis to spread the message of improved sanitary and healthy practices.




……… a way forward !



              सोच-आलय Thinking Toilets Part-1

              सोच-आलय Thinking Toilets Part-2

              सोच-आलय Thinking Toilets Part-3

City sanitation Plans

City Sanitation Plans are strategic planning processes for citywide sanitation sector development. Addressing technical and non-technical aspects of sanitation services, city sanitation plans includes the vision, missions, and goals of sanitation development as well as strategies to meet these goals.


City Sanitation Plans for Various Indian Cities

1)     Varanasi -

2)     Shimla -

3)     Uttarakhand -

4)     Nasik -

5)     Kochi -

6)     Raipur -

7)     Tirupati-

8)     Kalyan Dombivali, Mumbai -

9)     Vasai Virar, Mumbai-

10)  Warangal-

11)  Guwahati-

12)  Hoshangabad-

13)  Sambalpur, Orissa

14)  Rourkela-

15)  Nellore-

16)  Pune-

17)  Belgaum, Karnataka-

18)  Bhubaneswar-

For more City Sanitation Plans of Indian Cities, use the link given below:


According to the UNICEF’s Estimates:

1)     The World Is Unlikely To Reach The Millennium Development Goal Sanitation Target Of 75%.

Universal access to adequate sanitation is a fundamental need and human right. Since 1990, 1.9 billion people have gained access to an ‘improved’ form of sanitation, such as flush toilets or latrine with a slab. This means that, in 2012, 64 per cent of the global population was using such facilities – an impressive accomplishment but still far from the 2015 Millennium Development Goal target of 75 per cent. At current rates of progress, the target will be missed by over half a billion people.

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2)     50% Of India’s Population Defecates in the Open: UNICEF

UNICEF estimates that almost 594 million nearly 50% of India’s population defecates in the open with the situation     particularly acute in impoverished rural areasUNICEF estimates that almost 594 million —nearly 50 percent of India’s population — defecates in the open, with the situation particularly acute in impoverished rural areas such as the Badaun district of Uttar Pradesh.  The lack of private toilet facilities is a problem recognised across the political spectrum.

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3)     Only 31 per cent of India’s population use improved sanitation (2008).

4)      In rural India 21 per cent use improved sanitation facilities (2008).

5)     One hundred forty five million people in rural India gained access to improved sanitation between 1990-2008.

6)    Two hundred and eleven million people gained access to improved sanitation in whole of India between 1990-2008.

7)     India is home to 594 million people defecating in the open; over 50 per cent of the population.


Source: UNICEF