New Delhi, Nov 22: The Union government on Tuesday said a recent report by Water Air that more than 732 million Indians defecate in the open or in unsafe/unhygienic toilets does not reflect the progress made under the Swachh Bharat Mission.
A report by the international non-governmental organisation titled "Out of Order -- The State of the World's Toilets 2017" quotes data from the WHO-UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme, which extrapolates sanitation data based on that available from studies done between 2000 and 2015.
"This means it misses out on most of the progress under the Swachh Bharat Mission which aims to eradicate open defecation in India by October 2019," a statement from the Drinking Water and Sanitation Ministry said.
The statement said the report, in a special section, praised the rapid results achieved under the mission.
"Recognising such an unprecedented commitment to bring so many people out of open defecation in such a short span of time has no parallels anywhere in the world, the JMP, in the same report, inserted a special section with high praise for the rapid results seen under the Swachh Bharat Mission, and saying that their report does not capture a lot of the work done since 2015. Hence, the data is not updated," it said.
The report released on November 16 had said that India has the highest number of people without toilets and that more than 732 million Indians still defecate in the open. It said a staggering 355 million women and girls are still waiting for toilets.
The report added: "There has undoubtedly been immense progress made in improving access to sanitation by working with the Swachh Bharat (Clean India) Mission -- with 52 million household toilets built between October 2014 and November 2017, according to Government data."
It also ranked India in the top 10 for reducing open defecation and improving access to basic sanitation. "But there is still a long way to go," the report said.