Swachh Bharat goes hi-tech, govt to track toilet use with iPads

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NEW DELHI:   From January the central government proposes to mobilise public support support for naming and shaming non-users of toilets in rural India. People living in rural India can now directly upload photos of non-usage of toilets on social media and on the website of the Union ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. The ministry on Tuesday said people across the country will be mobilized to check and verify the use of toilets in the rural areas and can post photos or upload data through mobile phones, tablets or I-Pads.

Official sources said often toilets are built but not used, people store rice or tie goats inside them. Such incidents can be photographed and uploaded so action can be taken. People can use social media like Facebook to highlight non use of toilets and efforts were on to make changes in the ministry website for this purpose.

An official release said Nationwide Real Time Monitoring of use of toilets will be launched from the New Year though exact details are awaited. The monitoring system will give a big push to the Swachh Bharat Mission, which aims at attaining a 100 per cent Open Defecation Free India by 2019, said the release. Earlier, the monitoring was done only on the construction of toilets, but now the actual use of toilets will be ascertained on a sustained basis.

Additionally, the ministry is being strengthened with 24 additional staff members including two Joint Secretaries, four Directors and their subordinate staff for effective implementation and monitoring of Swachh Bharat goals. An Expert Committee will also be set up to examine innovative technologies for toilets and solid and liquid waste management. A national telephone helpline will also be installed for Rural Water Supply and Sanitation.

Under real time monitoring, there will be a provision for uploading progress under the Swachh Bharat Mission in the rural areas “with names of individual beneficiaries, and photos of toilets constructed and coordinates of the toilets,” the statement said.

The Census 2011 has reported that sanitation coverage in rural India is 32.70 per cent taking into consideration the increased population. There is an increase of 2.96 crore households in rural areas as compared to census 2001 which are using toilets. The National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) -2012 report has estimated that 40.6 per cent of rural households have sanitation facilities. As per Baseline Survey Report 2013, 40.35 per cent households have toilets.

After the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission (Rural) on October 2, 5,03,142 individual household latrines have been constructed.

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