According to Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister Kumari Selja, within the last one year, the states of Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Nagaland and Assam have announced that they have no dry latrines, implying that manual scavenging has effectively been abolished.
The government claims there are only four states left with dry latrines: Bihar, Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh. This contradicts a May 2009 news report that the Supreme Court had sent notices to the governments of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan seeking an explanation for their failure to demolish dry latrines and prosecute the owners.
Under the revised guidelines of the government’s “Integrated Low Cost Sanitation” (ILCS) scheme, a total of 241,931 dry latrines are being converted into pour-flush latrines and 32,305 new pour-flush latrines are being constructed during 2008-2009 and 2009-10 (up to 31.08.2009).
The ILCS scheme was initiated in 1980-81 through the Ministry of Home Affairs and later through Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment. The scheme was transferred in 1989-90 to the Ministry of Urban Development & Poverty Alleviation and from 2003-2004 onwards to the Ministry of Urban Employment and Poverty Alleviation/Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (UEPA/HUPA). The scheme has helped in constructing/converting over 2.8 million latrines to liberate over 60,000 scavengers so far. To improve the programme’s performance revised guidelines were introduced in January, 2008.
The main objective of the Scheme is to convert low cost sanitation units through sanitary two pit pour flush latrines with superstructures and appropriate variations to suit local conditions (area specific latrines), but 25% of the funds of the scheme are also made available for construction of new latrines where economically weaker section (EWS) households have no latrines.
Under the Scheme, the central subsidy is 75%, State Subsidy 15% and beneficiary share is 10%. The upper ceiling cost is Rs.10,000/- (US$ 214) for the complete unit. For the States falling in the category of difficult and hilly areas, 25% extra cost is provided.
The Scheme is scheduled to end in 2009-10.
Source: PIB, 10 Nov 2009