One of the problems one faced was that toilets that were being built had no running water, which made them unusable. This was caused by an imbalance in resources. 2016-17, Swatch Bharat received approximately Rs 14,000 crore, but the rural water infrastructure only received Rs 6,000 crore.
The Ministry of Water Resources estimates that a household needs a total of 40 liters of water per day, of which 15 to 20 liters are used for sanitation. But even a well-supplied rural household only received between 8 and 10 liters of water a day, and that was used for cooking, drinking and washing, with disinfection being the last priority. And many villages had no access to tap water at all.
Why focus on sanitation and not on litter or trash? This is because the lack of sanitation affects children’s health. The 2019-20 National Family Health Survey came up with some terrible numbers. For four key metrics that represent children’s nutritional status, states saw a significant decrease in 2019-20 compared to 2015-16.
In states like Gujarat, Maharashtra and West Bengal, the proportion of anemic and exhausted (low weight for height) children was significantly higher than the values measured 15 years earlier in 2005-2006. This indicated a reversal of progress that had been difficult to gain. Even in states like Kerala, which continued to lead on these indicators, 2019-20 scores were worse than 2015-16 scores.
The survey found data for 22 states and union territories and analyzed 10 major states. Child anemia was higher in all 10 states in 2019-20 than in 2015-16. In Gujarat, Himachal, Maharashtra and West Bengal, a higher percentage of children were anemic in 2019-20 than in 2005-06.