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How India lives written by Roshin Mary George, published in Frontline. February 2, 2014

 

The improvement in key indicators of living conditions such as housing, drinking water, sanitation and hygiene has not encompassed the entire population, says the latest NSSO survey.

 

DO you know that nearly 60 per cent of rural households in India did not have latrine facilities as late as 2012? Or that over 50 per cent of households in rural India had to travel for about half a kilometre to fetch drinking water? However, it is heartening to note that 94.2 per cent and 71.3 per cent of the households in rural and urban India respectively had secured tenure in 2012. And that, at the all-India level, only 10.8 per cent of urban dwelling units were situated in slums.

 

This information was gleaned by the 69th round of the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) in its nationwide survey on "Drinking water, sanitation, hygiene, and housing condition in India" conducted from July to December 2012, covering 4,475 villages and 3,522 urban blocks.

 

Drinking water

 

The survey found that 86 per cent and 89.5 per cent of households in rural India and urban India respectively got sufficient water throughout the year.

 

"Improved source of drinking water" is an indicator for the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Many households attempt to improve the quality of the water they drink by adopting various methods for treating it. It was observed that 88.5 per cent of the rural and 95.3 per cent of the urban households had improved source of drinking water in 2012.

 

As opposed to 76.8 per cent of the households in urban India, 46.1 per cent of the households in rural India got drinking water within their premises, and 50.2 per cent and 21.1 per cent of the households in rural and urban India respectively had to travel less than half a kilometre to fetch drinking water. Members of rural households had to wait, on an average, 15 minutes and members of urban households 16 minutes in a day at the principal source of drinking water.

 

Bathroom and sanitation facility

 

The corresponding estimates across the rural areas of bigger States show that in 2012. Kerala had the highest (92.7 per cent) and Jharkhand the lowest (7.5 per cent) proportion of households having exclusive use of latrine facilities: 31.9 per cent and 63.9 per cent of the households in rural and urban India respectively had exclusive use of latrine facilities while 38.8 per cent and 89.6 per cent of the households in rural and urban India respectively had access to "improved source" of latrine.

 

In rural and urban India respectively, 59.4 per cent and 8.8 per cent of the households had no latrine facilities. The proportion of households that had no latrine facilities in Jharkhand (90.5 per cent) was much higher than the all-India proportion (59.4 per cent).

 

In rural and urban India, 62.3 per cent and 16.7 per cent of households respectively did not have any bathroom facility. Among rural areas of bigger States, Jharkhand had the highest (89.4 per cent) and Kerala the lowest (9.7 per cent) proportion of households without any bathroom.

 

In the rural areas of bigger States, more than 70 per cent of the households had a bathing facility within their premises except in States such as Odisha (25.1 per cent), Chhattisgarh (27.8 per cent), Jharkhand (37.9 per cent), and West Bengal (47 per cent).

 

Electricity facility

 

During 2012, 80 per cent and 97.9 per cent households respectively in rural and urban India had electricity for domestic use. In urban areas of each of the bigger

 

States, more than 85 per cent of the households had electricity for domestic use and the proportion was the highest (99.9 per cent) in Delhi and in Jammu and Kashmir and the lowest (89.2 per cent) in Bihar.

 

Secured tenure

 

Ownership of the dwelling unit can be considered the most secured tenure status. In rural and urban India, 94.2 per cent and 71.3 per cent of the households respectively had secured tenure. In the urban areas of bigger States, Kerala had the highest (90.2 per cent) and Andhra Pradesh the lowest (45.8 per cent) proportion of households with "secured tenure".

 

In rural India, 47.4 per cent of the households and in urban India 66 per cent of the households had a separate kitchen in their dwellings. Similarly among urban areas of bigger States, Kerala had the highest (91.8 per cent) and Bihar the lowest (42.2 per cent) proportion of households having a separate kitchen. In rural areas of bigger States, Kerala had the highest (93.9 per cent) proportion of households having a separate kitchen.

 

Only 26.3 per cent and 47.1 per cent households in rural India and urban India respectively had dwelling units with "good ventilation". Among rural households, 31.7 per cent, and urban households 82.5 per cent had 'improved drainage' facility.

 

In rural and urban India 32 per cent and 75.8 per cent households respectively had some garbage disposal arrangement in 2012. Among urban areas of bigger States, Uttarakhand had the highest (91.2 per cent) and Kerala the lowest (24.3 per cent) proportion of households with garbage disposal arrangement.