Usage of toilets in India is over 95 per cent, reveals new NSSO survey

This finding is, however, from a two-month rapid survey, considered too short by experts

By Sushmita Sengupta
Published: Thursday 14 April 2016
The rapid survey suggests that 42.5 per cent of rural household toilets and 87.9 per cent of urban household toilets have access to water (Photo: Jitendra)

India’s Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) has released the Swachhata Status Report, 2016, which states that the usage of toilets is 95.6 per cent in rural India and 98.8 per cent in urban areas.

These figures were found in a rapid survey conducted by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) under MOSPI during May-June 2015. It studied 73,176 rural households and 41,538 urban households. It covered all states of India, except Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura where it could not be conducted due to logistical problems and limited availability of time.

The rapid survey suggests that 42.5 per cent of rural household toilets and 87.9 per cent of urban household toilets have access to water. The survey also talks about solid and liquid waste management. More than 36 per cent of urban areas are reported to be equipped with a proper liquid disposal system. Around 36.7 per cent of villages have pakki nali (permanent drain) and 19 per cent of villages have katchi nali (temporary/non-cemented drain) as drainage arrangement to deal with waste water coming from rural households.

The survey says that an estimated 52.1 per cent of people in rural areas practise open defecation. Among the states surveyed, Jharkhand fares the worst, with Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha showing a high rate of open defecation. In urban India, the percentage of persons practising open defecation was much lower at 7.5 per cent.

Percentage of population practicing open defecation in rural areas (Source: Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation)

The report also brings together all relevant information about different sanitation programmes being implemented by the government. Some important findings of the report are as follows:

  • The report says that more than 5.8 million toilets were constructed during the year 2014-15. This exceeds the target of 5 million individual rural household toilets.


Individual rural household toilets constructed over the years (Source: Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation)


  • Rajasthan tops the list in construction of rural household toilets, followed by West Bengal. Besides, 1,109 community sanitary complexes, 25,264 school toilets and 8,377 anganwadi toilets were constructed under Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin).


School and anganwadi toilets constructed over the years under SBM (Gramin) (Source: Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation)


  • More than 4.9 million household toilets were constructed after the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin), indicating substantial acceleration in the pace of construction after its launch by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 2,
  • It is seen in graphs 2 and 3 that while there has been an increase in individual household toilets over the years, the number of school and anganwadi toilets has drastically decreased.
  • In urban areas, only 1 million toilets were constructed against a target of 4.2 million household toilets until March 31, 2015.
  • The new mission aimed to rope in private and public sector companies for the construction of toilets. Until March 31, 2015, only 3,466 toilets were constructed in schools by corporates, while PSUs constructed more toilets at around 141,000.
  • Around 81,400 toilets were constructed under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in 2015-16 as against 672,000 toilets constructed under the same scheme in 2014-15. The number may have come down as SBM has stopped the convergence of the mission with MGNREGS. A 2015 report published by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) finds that there was no convergence of schemes from 2009-12, and between 2012 and 2014, only 6 per cent convergence was observed between the sanitation mission, MGNREGS and Indira Awas Yojana (housing scheme for rural poor).


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.