Out of 204,245 villages that self-declared to be open-defecation free (ODF), only 105,456 villages or 51.6% have been verified by state governments, according to this reply to the Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) by Narendra Singh Tomar, minister for drinking water and sanitation, on August 3, 2017 .
An independent verification agency has been appointed to conduct the National Annual Rural Sanitation Survey to measure the progress made by states.
The survey is scheduled to start from September/October, Tomar told the Lok Sabha.
Progress of sanitation was to be independently verified, the World Bank said, when it had loaned India $1.5 billion for the Swacch Bharat Mission- Gramin (Clean India Mission-Rural).
Since the government had not independently verified progress as agreed, the first instalment, due on July 2016, was held back, IndiaSpend reported on May 24, 2017. The World Bank also rated the implementation of the programme ‘moderately unsatisfactory.’
All villages in Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim are ODF and verified by the states.
Other than the union territories, Jammu Kashmir (1.67%), Bihar (2.85%) and Odisha (5.29%) have the least number of verified ODF villages .
(Yadavar is principal correspondent with IndiaSpend.)
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