8 States, two UTs declared as ODF
New Delhi: The number of persons defecating in open in rural areas has declined to 25 crore in January 2018 from 55 crore in October 2014, with eight states and two union territories declared as ODF, the Economic Survey said on Monday.
Stating that the quality of hygiene and sanitation has significant impact on improving the health outcomes, the survey said so far, 296 districts and 3,07,349 villages across India have been declared as Open Defecation Free (ODF).
The states and UTs include Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Daman & Diu and Chandigarh.
Citing a UNICEF report, the survey said lack of sanitation is responsible for the death of over 1,00,000 children in India annually.
While the non-ODF districts have lower percentage of population with secondary education and reflect higher levels of diarrhoea and stunting, there has been a clear cut evidence of behavioural shift of the individuals in ODF areas due to larger presence and proactive work undertaken by village health and sanitation committees, the survey noted. It further said in addition to the health benefits, there are also economic gains on becoming ODF areas.
"According to the World Bank estimates, the lack of sanitation facilities costs India over 6 per cent of GDP," the survey said, adding that as per UNICEF a
household in an ODF village in rural India saves Rs 50,000 every year.