The World Bank has approved a $1.5 billion loan for the ambitious Clean India campaign.
The international financial institution has backed the Indian government's efforts to ensure all citizens in rural areas have access to improved sanitation and end the practice of open defecation by 2019.
As per World Bank statistics, of the 2.4 billion people who lack access to improved sanitation globally, more than 750 million live in India, with 80 per cent living in rural areas. More than 500 million of the rural population in India continue to defecate in the open, suffering from preventable deaths, illness, stunting, harassment and economic losses.
The loan will be used for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Swachh Bharat Abhiyan Support Operation Project.
Onno Ruhl, World Bank country director for India, said: “One in every 10 deaths in India is linked to poor sanitation. And studies show that low-income households bear the maximum brunt of poor sanitation.
“This project, aimed at strengthening the implementation of the Swachh Bharat initiative of the government, will result in significant health benefits for the poor and vulnerable, especially those living in rural areas.
“Incentivising good performance by states and the focus on behavioural changes are two important components of this project.”
The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) will play the overseeing and coordinating role for the programme and support the participating states. Funds will also be used to develop the capacity of MDWS in program management, advocacy, monitoring and evaluation.
The World Bank will also provide a parallel $25 million technical assistance to build the capacity of select state governments in implementing community-led behavioural change programmes, targeting social norms to help ensure widespread usage of toilets by rural households.
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