On the request of the Udaipur district administration, the Accountability Initiative at the Centre for Policy Research undertook a sample survey of recently declared and verified Open Defecation Free (ODF) Gram Panchayats (GPs) in the district, in 2017. The study found significant gaps in the processes involved in achieving ODF, and resultantly found less than 100% toilet coverage and even lower usage, bringing into question the veracity of the ODF status.
While there have been a number of recent studies seeking to understand the status of sanitation in India, relatively fewer studies attempt to examine the processes involved in declaring villages or GPs as ODF. This study aimed at filling this lacuna by undertaking a detailed process evaluation of the recent sanitation efforts in Udaipur.
The study was conducted in a limited setting, and was designed to be representative only of the ODF GPs in Udaipur. However, the structural and systemic infirmities in the bureaucratic apparatus are not unique only to Udaipur administration. With Rs 30,973 crores allocated to rural sanitation by Government of India and over 4 lakh villages having been declared ODF, these findings therefore assume a national significance, especially as the Swachh Bharat Mission Period draws to a close. At the very least, it evidences the need to conduct similar assessments in other parts of the country, which have seen rapid ODF declarations since 2014.
The full case study can be accessed here.