New Delhi: Sanitation programmes launched by the government over the last few years have failed to achieve the desired targets, the Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) of India said on Tuesday.
A CAG report which was submitted in Parliament yesterday said that the failure was largely due to planning level weaknesses even as large-scale diversions, wastages and irregularities were detected.
"... audit clearly reveals the failure of the sanitation programmes in achieving the envisaged targets," the CAG report on performance audit of total sanitation campaign/Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan tabled in Parliament said.
In the past five years, the government could achieve just above half of its pledged target on construction of individual household toilets under the total sanitation campaign, the auditor body said.
The CAG pointed out that while the Swachh Bharat Mission was launched by the Prime Minister on October 2, 2014 with an aim of 100 per cent open defecation-free India by 2019, before these similar targets for eradication of open defecation were set out for 2012, revised to 2017 and again set out for 2022.
With the objective of 426.32 lakh and 469.76 lakh individual household latrines for BPL and APL families respectively, the programmes could only construct 222.32 lakh and 207.55 lakh.
"The conceptual frame-work kept changing from supply driven to demand driven and finally to 'saturation and convergence' approach, yet the lessons learnt and experimentations through this long journey do not seem to have made much impact on the sanitation status in the country," the country's top auditor said.
The CAG said its audit has brought out planning level weaknesses which were critical for the success of programme.
Nearly Rs 10,000 crore was spent on the rural sanitation programme by the Central government in the five years covered by audit and large scale diversions, wastages and irregularities were noted, it said.
"More than 30 per cent of individual household latrines were defunct/non-functional for reasons like poor quality of construction, incomplete structure, non- maintenance," it pointed out.
It said unless implementation is based on realistic planning and is backed by large scale information, education and communication campaigns to bring about behavioural changes in the target population and overall governance at the grass root level improves, mere deployment of resources may not have any significant impact.
(with inputs from PTI)