Water and Sanitation
“Sanitation is more important than Independence”.
– Mahatma Gandhi
India has progressed on many fronts over the decades since independence in 1947. Our per capita income has been rising and the average longevity has increased from about less than 40 years at the time of independence to 69 years now. According to 2011 Census overall literacy rate has also increased to 74 per cent compared to less than 20 per cent in 1951. However, on the other hand, India has the largest numbers of malnourished people in the world.
Studies show that malnourishment is not only the product of access to food but also access to safe drinking water and sanitation. Many water borne diseases like diarrhoea, dysentery, typhoid are related to huge morbidity burden and loss of working days. Access to safe water and sanitation has been considered one of the most important social determinants of health. Water related illness constitutes one-third morbidities among adults and two-thirds among children. It is important to mention that India’s 1.21 billion people live in large number of rural and urban habitations. There were 7935 cities and towns and 6.4 lakh villages according to 2011 Census. About one-third population (31 per cent) lived in urban areas and three-fourth lived in rural areas. Rural and urban sanitation should be seen differently due to diverse conditions prevailing in the rural and urban areas.
The TBSRF programmes are aligned to a rights-based framework; enabling communities to demand services and take active part in the local governance processes.