At a time when it has been conclusively established that the lack of toilets in schools is a major deterrent to school children, especially the girl child, the South Indian states led by Kerala and Karnataka have performed exceedingly well in the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA) indices.
According to data from the Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation for the period lasting upto August 2012 and which is available with Express, Kerala and Karnataka were among the eight states in the country where all the state-run schools in the rural areas had toilet facilities.
The other members of the group include Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Punjab, Sikkim and Delhi.
The ministry is using the NBA programme to make the country ‘open defecation free’ and to improve sanitation in rural India. In 2012-13, the Centre has set apart Rs 3500 crore for implementing the programme. And some 3600 schools in rural Andhra Pradesh are yet to get toilets, while the numbers for Odisha and Tamil Nadu are 702 and 7592 respectively. The states which fared poorly were Assam,Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan and West Bengal.
On the drinking water index, Kerala and Tamil Nadu made an impressive show.
All the 27,310 ‘primary only’ schools in rural Tamil Nadu have drinking water facility. Andhra Pradesh has 61,099 ‘primary only’ schools in rural areas, out of which 7692 do not have drinking water facility, while 2037 of Karnataka’s 23,338 ‘primary only’ schools lack the facility.
Assam has also bagged the dubious distinction of the worst performing state in the drinking water index. A staggering 11,422 of its 44,034 ‘primary only’ schools are yet to get drinking water facility.