With less than two years remaining until the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) deadline, 62.5%, or 400 of India’s 640 districts are yet to be declared open-defecation free (ODF), according to the latest data from the ministry of drinking water and sanitation.

Of the 29 states and seven union territories, tourism hub Goa, India’s smallest state by size, has fared the worst since SBM began three years ago. Both its districts, North Goa and South Goa, report the prevalence of open defecation, the data, updated upto December 1, 2017, show.

Among the larger states, Jammu & Kashmir has shown the slowest progress towards eliminating open defecation--only 5.6% of the state’s villages are reported to be open-defecation free. India’s most populous states have also been slow to change--Bihar reported 7.74% of its villages to be open-defecation free, and Uttar Pradesh, 14.96%.

Other states and union territories faring poorly on the ODF scale include Tripura (1.06%), Andaman & Nicobar Islands (0.93%), Puducherry (3.4%) and Manipur (14.29%).

Source: Swachh Bharat Mission Dashboard, Ministry of drinking water and sanitation

Funds are allocated under SBM as per states’ demands. Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh had received the most funds--Rs 2,477 crore, Rs 2,287 crore, Rs 2,287 crore and Rs 1,990 crore, respectively.

As of August 7, 2017, of the total Rs 23,883 crore disbursed, Goa and Daman & Diu received the least share--Rs 1 crore each, data show. Since the start of the mission in 2014, Goa has received funds only once in 2015-16.

Source: Lok Sabha reply, Ministry of drinking water and sanitation

“Since Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) is a demand-driven scheme, state-wise allocations are not made,” the ministry of drinking water and sanitation said in a Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) reply on August 10, 2017.

As of July 27, 2017, household toilet availability had improved from 38.7% on October 2, 2014, to 71.12%, the same data show.

The government has yet to carry out a third-party verification of SBM’s reported progress. An independent verification agency was scheduled to begin a survey in September/October, IndiaSpend reported on August 4, 2017. Meanwhile, independent studies by sanitation researchers and anecdotal evidence does not match the government’s claims of progress, The Hindu reported on November 15, 2017.

The Goan government will conduct its own survey too, Sandhya Kamat, director of Goa’s directorate of panchayats told IndiaSpend. "The responsibility of implementing the Mission in Goa has been transferred from the Public Works Department to the Directorate of Panchayats. In collaboration with self-help groups, we are now going to start conducting surveys to ascertain how many toilets exist, how many are needed, and who are facing issues. The data on the website needs to be updated as soon as the survey is complete,” Kamat said.

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