One in three married couples in India have no room to themselves

NSSO report shows half of India has no access to sanitation, drainage or waste disposal

By Jitendra
Published: Friday 22 August 2014

NSSO report shows 44 per cent rural households don't have pucca houses

A national sample survey report, released on Thursday, reveals that a third of married couples in India do not have separate room to themselves, affecting their privacy and health.

The 69th round of survey report of the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) states that only 68 per cent rural households and 73 per cent of urban households are able to afford separate room for married couples, leaving out a third of all married couples.

The report, titled “Drinking Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Housing Condition”, was conducted between July 2012 and December 2012. The last such survey was undertaken in 65th round of survey between July 2008 and June 2009.
Couples worse off in Karnataka, Gujarat

Karnataka, followed by Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat are the major states where married couples in rural areas do not get separate accommodation. States that top the list in providing separate room to married couples in rural areas are: Nagaland (96 per cent), Meghalaya (93 per cent) and Kerala (92 per cent).

The report also reveals that only 53 per cent of the country's households have separate kitchens. Of these, more than 36 per cent are without water tap facility. Rural India is much better off than urban India when it comes to water tap facility in kitchens. Sixty-five per cent of rural households have separate kitchen with water tap; in urban areas only 40 per cent have them.

The report also has data which shows that more than half of total households have no garbage disposal arrangement and 38 per cent  households have no drainage facilities. The percentage is higher in rural areas than in urban. In rural areas, 68 per cent households have no garbage facility and half the households have no drainage facility; the corresponding figures are lower in urban India—24 per cent and 13 per cent.

The report also reveals that 54 per cent country's households are severely affected by mosquitoes or flies whereas 44 per cent are moderately affected by it. A large percentage of rural India is severely affected by the pests while most of the urban population is affected moderately by them. 

The report also has information about the type of housing. It says 66 per cent rural households have pucca (cemented) houses. But only 40 per cent rural households have toilets; the figure has marginally improved by five per cent since the 65th round of survey report in 2009 (see table).

Households with latrine facility (in %)
Years Census NSS*
2014 ----- 40.60% (69th round in 2012)
2011 31% 35% (65th round in 2009)
2001 22% 40%(58th round in 2002)
1991 9% 29%(49th round in 1993)
National Sample Survey,August, 2014

People keeping poor health

Lack of space, poor sanitation and open drains is telling on the health of the people. The report states that more than 36 per cent  households reported fever (other than malaria) at least one month in a year, 20 per cent suffered stomach problems, five per cent malaria and seven per cent suffered skin diseases.

Rural India is in poorer health than urban India. Four per cent households in rural areas reported fever due to diseases other than malaria, 22 per cent suffered from stomach problems, 6 per cent reported malaria and 8 per cent skin diseases. The respective figures for illnesses in urban areas is 27 per cent, 15 per cent, 3 per cent and 5 per cent.

Time spent in fetching water

The report also reveals the time spent by households in fetching water. Its says rural India spends an average 20 minutes every day in fetching drinking water whereas urban Indian households spend 15 minutes. Among the larger states, Jharkhand is most affected by poor access to water. A person in the state spends average 40 minutes to fetching drinking water. Other states with poor access to drinking water are: Bihar, Rajasthan, Haryana. J&K and Uttar Pradesh. Assam is relatively better off, households here spend an average 10 minutes to fetch drinking water (See special feature, 'Water Walkathon').

Water access in urban areas is also poor. In Jharkhand, an urban household also spends 40 minutes in fetching water. Urban Rajasthan, Bihar and Chhattisgarh are also affected by poor access to drinking water. Delhi is better off compared to all other cities; an average householder spends six minutes in fetching water.

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :
Related Stories

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.