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The third anniversary of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission), launched on a war footing by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, might just come as an embarrassment for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled states of the country. These states, two-thirds of all states in India, seem to be faring poorly in implementing the scheme meant to provide a toilet to every Indian household without one. ALSO READ: 10 unseen clean India ads of Modi's Swachh Bharat The worst performers are Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, where the BJP came to power this year – in a coalition in Bihar and with an absolute majority in Uttar Pradesh. Bihar has constructed only one toilet for every 10 households without toilets, while 83 per cent of households without toilets in Uttar Pradesh are yet to be provided those. Congress-ruled Karnataka has shown some progress, albeit tepid – it has built toilets for a quarter of households without those. The Left-ruled Kerala, it turns out, is the best-performing state. It has managed to construct toilets in 82 per cent of the households that earlier did have those. But a closer look at Kerala’s performance might tell a different story. ALSO READ: Rush on to meet Swachh Bharat mission target after 3 yrs Government statistics show that more than 400,000 people in Kerala live in one-room hutments. This means these people do not have toilets at their homes. But Kerala has identified only about 200,000 households as being without toilets. So, its performance might appear twice as good as it actually is. Under-identification of households without toilets also seems to have happened in West Bengal, ruled by Modi’s bitter political rival Mamata Banerjee. Almost 8.5 million households in West Bengal live in one room hutments.
But only 6.5 million have been identified as having no access to toilets.This is in stark contrast to BJP-ruled states where the number of households without toilets has been estimated to be far greater than those living in such single-room dwellings. While even those living in two-room dwellings might not have access to toilets, Kerala and West Bengal seem to have faltered in including even those who never had a toilet in their homes. One of the ways in which the Clean India Mission aims to provide toilets in certain pockets of the country is by providing access to community toilets shared by households. The BJP-ruled states fare poorly here as well. In states like Rajasthan, such under-privileged households do not have access to even one toilet. This state, for instance, has 6.5 million households without toilets but has less than 25,000 community toilets constructed across the state. In Congress-ruled Punjab, meanwhile, a quarter of such households have access to community toilets. BJP-ruled states also seem to be the hotbed of open defecation, despite the government’s multi-pronged strategy to stop people with toilets from answering the call of nature under the open sky. Less than 10 per cent of villages in Jammu & Kashmir and Bihar have been declared open-defecation-free. Bihar’s progress on this front has been worse than Kashmir. Only six per cent of the villages in Bihar have been declared free of open defecation.