Rajasthan Likely to Implement Compulsory Toilet Scheme

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JAIPUR: Times of India reported that it might sound ‘oppressive’ but the Rajasthan government is contemplating an effective regulation to curb open defecation for people having no toilets in their households. If the government has its way, toilets might soon be made mandatory for eligibility in several processes, be it contesting local body polls, seeking jobs in the government sector or availing loans from a government enterprise.

According to the 2011 census, only 19.6% households have toilets. A baseline survey in 2012 in each district revealed that this figure rose to 27.19%. However in the same year, a survey by UNICEF in seven districts put that figure to 27.3% and in 2014 a survey by the panchayati raj department in other seven districts found toilets in 27.29% households but 72.71% households still do not have toilets.

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In a bid to give adequate impetus to the Centre’s Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA), all state government employees posted in rural areas would be required to get toilets constructed in their houses. The main goal of NBA is to eradicate the practice of open defecation by 2017. To achieve this target, it is proposed that provisions be made in the Rajasthan Panchayati Raj Act, 1994, Section (19) that among other necessary pre-requisites required for contesting panchayat elections to be a ‘panch’ or a member, the contestants should have toilets constructed in the house and members of the family should routinely use them.

“Panchayati Raj representatives in the rural areas can effectively motivate people to use toilets. A survey done among the panchayati raj representatives revealed that 30% of them do not use toilets. Under these circumstances, they cannot successfully convince others and there is a negative impact on the NBA,” said Rajesh Yadav, secretary to the government and panchayati raj department commissioner,.

Besides, functionaries working on fixed remuneration in the field of education, health, women and child development in the rural areas of the state do not use toilets. In the current circumstances, implementation of this programme is therefore difficult as those who have to make the awareness do not use toilets themselves, hence motivating others becomes difficult. The number of such field functionaries is very high. Besides, there are farmers who are availing loans of over Rs 50,000 from co-operative societies, fair value shop keepers in the villages. For such farmers, it needs to be compulsory to have toilets in their house and use them regularly. According to a cabinet meeting note, within three months of the issue of the notice, they would to get toilets constructed. In the absence of compliance of these orders, those holding any government posts would be deemed unfit.

In a survey by the panchayati raj department, it was also found that many government employees in the rural areas do not have toilets in their houses. This includes employees of education, health, revenue, agriculture and women and child development departments. About 10%-20% school teachers in rural areas still defecate in the open. “Hence it is proposed that provisions for a toilet in a house and its use by all the members be made mandatory. Compliance of these instructions would also reflect on the employee’s forthcoming salary increments,” Yadav said.

Toilet Training

Mandatory toilet in a house would affect:

Mid-day meal cooks and helpers: 125000

NAREGA empanelled Mate: 70000

Women and child development employees: 180000

Fair value shops: 25542

Farmers availing loan over Rs 50000 from co-operative societies: 1120000

(Times of India, 22 September 2014)

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