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According to World Health Organization (WHO) Report, India is on a track to meet it’s goal for drinking water access. Although India is on track in meeting it’s MDGs for safe drinking water,
with about 93% of the population having access to improved sources of water. It is still far behind in meeting its target for improved sanitation facilities.

According to WHO 2012 report, about 792 million people still do not have access to improved sanitation facilities. The report published by the Water and Sanitation Programme (WSP) has estimated that the total economic impact due to inadequate sanitation in India amounts to Rs. 2.44 trillion ( $3.8 billion USD) a year. This is equivalent of 6.4 percent of India’s GDP in 2006.

Sanitation is broadly defined to include management of human excreta, solid water and drainage.The United Nations- World Health organization Joint Monitoring Programme for water supply and sanitation has defined,” Improved Sanitation” as the means that hygienically  separate human excreta from human contacts. However, it reduces health risks to humans. Inadequate sanitation kills people, causes diseases, environmental pollution and diminishes welfare. The economic impacts of poor sanitation is alarming.

Methodology of measuring the economic impacts of inadequate sanitation:

  1. Health-related impacts
  2. Domestic-Water-related impacts
  3. Access time impacts
  4. Tourism

*source: World Bank

A comprehensive intervention on sanitation and hygiene can result in averting 45 percent of adverse health impacts and this avoid all the adverse impacts of inadequate sanitation. This would bring a potential gain of about Rs. 1.48 trillion ( $32.6 billion USD).

The World Bank study has quantified the economic loss of lack of toilets and sanitation facilities in India at $54 billion as a consequence of treatment cost for various diseases, deaths, lost productivities and loss in tourist revenues among other factors. This 54 billion USD is equivalent to 6.4 % of its GDP in a year.

India’s situation in sanitation conditions is worse than many other Asian countries. The annual per person losses from poor sanitation is $9.3 in Vietnam, $16.8 in the Philippines, $28.6 in Indonesia and $32.4 in Cambodia. The figure in India is $48 per capita basis. The numbers show the urgency with which India needs to improve sanitation.