Swachh Bharat Mission Giving Annual Benefits Of Rs 53,000 Per Household, Study Finds
Signage for a Sulabh International Social Service Organisation office is displayed on a building wall in Hirmtala village, Haryana. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

Swachh Bharat Mission Giving Annual Benefits Of Rs 53,000 Per Household, Study Finds

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The government's ambitious Swachh Bharat Mission has resulted in annual benefits to the tune of more than Rs 53,000 per household in rural India, including through reduced diarrhoea incidence and from sanitation access time savings, according to an international study.

The study on Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin (Clean India Mission-Rural) also found that financial returns on household spending over 10 years is 1.7 times the cost while returns to society on total spending over ten 10 years is also 4.3 times the cost.

The study, which happens to be the first ever economic analysis of the scheme and has been published in the latest October 2020 issue of ScienceDirect journal of global information analytics major Elsevier, further showed that the poorest have got a financial return of 2.6 and a societal return of 5.7 times the cost.

The survey covered 10,051 rural households from July 20 to Aug. 11, 2017 in 12 states, including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Assam, which collectively contributed 90 per cent of open defecation across the country that year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the Swachh Bharat Mission on Oct. 2, 2014, while announcing that India will be made open defecation free by Oct.2019. It reached 100% target on Oct. 2, 2019, from 38.7% at the time of the launch, as per the mission's website. More than 10 crore household toilets have been built under this scheme since its launch.

"Financial commitments to households averaged $257 (nearly Rs 19,000) for investment and $7 (about Rs 2,700) for annual operations and maintenance, while enjoying medical cost savings of $123 per year (about Rs 9,000) for 10 years, averaging an annual $60 (over Rs 4,000) financial return," it stated.

It stated that more than two-thirds (69.5 % of households received government subsidy with an average $183 (over Rs 13,000) support, and of these households, 63.8% made their own investment to supplement the government subsidy, which averaged an additional $154 (over Rs 11,000).

"Annual benefits of $727 per household are mainly from savings associated with reduced diarrhea incidence (55%) and from sanitation access time savings (45%)," the study found.

The study also found that household sanitation has also led to $294 (over Rs 21,000) one-off property value benefit.

"Financial and non-financial commitments to households averaged $268 (Rs 19,700) for investment and 1$31 (Rs 9,600) for annual O&M (operations and maintenance) cost, while enjoying economic benefits of $727 per year for 10 years, averaging an annual $599 (about Rs 44,000) economic return," it stated.

It also found that substantial health benefits were due to the reductions in premature death, valued at $249 (about Rs 18,000) per year per household.

"Significant time is spent in accessing sanitation outside the house by those who do not have or use a household toilet. The value of time savings for a household where all members use the toilet is on average $325 (Rs 24,000) per household per year," the study said.

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