Representative photo. Photograph:( ANI )
The investment in building a toilet, too, is being perceived as a positive step, as the value of the property has seen an average increase of US$ 294
An international report on the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) compared and estimated the major economic costs and its benefits associated with sanitation improvement during the three years of this mission.
The report has been authored by Guy Huttona, Sumeet Patilb, Avni Kumar, Nicolas Osbert and Francis Odhiambo, and is titled 'Comparison of the costs and benefits of the Clean India Mission'.
"On 2nd October 2014, the Indian Prime Minister, Hon Narendra Modi, launched the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM - Clean India Mission) and announced that India aimed to be open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019; an objective whose fulfilment has been reported by the Government of India," the report said.
As per the study, the annual economic gains from household sanitation are worth $727 per household which stem mainly out of the savings associated with reduced diarrhoea incidence (55 per cent) and from sanitation access time savings (45 per cent).
The authors of the report believe that the enormity of the task cannot be underestimated, considering the size and diversity of the country.
"In the year 2015, 59 per cent of rural households and 12 per cent of urban households in India did not have a sanitary toilet despite more than a decade of sanitation programs such as the Total Sanitation Campaign and later Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (sanitized India campaign), leaving 522 million people still practicing open defecation nationally," the paper said.
The authors studied how the government not only had to simply build toilets but also bring widescale changes "in social norms and behaviours to ensure proper usage and maintenance of these facilities."
As per the report, the annual benefits of sanitation under SBM–Gramin (SBM-G) are $727 plus $294 one-off property value benefit.
An interesting thing here is that majority of the annual benefits (which are 55 per cent) are health-related ($402).
"The average medical cost per episode of diarrheal diseases at any type of health facility was $63, which is saved when an episode is averted," the report continued.
The average duration of an illness episode was 1.8 days with an average 1.34 health facility visits. "Of the savings in lost time in illness and caretaking, 52 per cent of the value accrued to the patient and 48 per cent the caregiver. Substantial health benefits were due to the reductions in premature death, valued at US$ 249 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 report states.
It also stated that the value of time savings of a household in India where all members are using a toilet is nearly US$ 325 per household per year.
The investment in building a toilet, too, therefore, is being perceived as a positive step, as the value of the property has seen an average increase of US$ 294.
Indian government provided subsidies to more than two-thirds (69.5 per cent) of households with an average US$ 183 support, and "of these households, 63.8 per cent made their own investment to supplement the government subsidy, which averaged an additional US$ 154."