Political leadership accompanied by public funding, partnership and people's participation can help the world in achieving total sanitation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Tuesday on the occasion of 149th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
He said till four years ago, India's share in the world's population that practised open defecation was 60 per cent, which has now come down to below 20 per cent.
Addressing the concluding session of the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention here, he said 90 per cent of the toilets constructed are being used even as the government carries out constant follow ups to ensure that cities declared open defecation free "do not fall back on old habits".
"It is the result of public participation that rural sanitation has increased from 38 per cent before 2014 to 94 per cent now," the prime minister said.
While 25 states have declared themselves as open defecation free, the number of such villages has gone up to 5 lakh, he said.
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