SRINAGAR: Government of India’s propensity to frequently change the password of an information management system has earned Jammu and Kashmir the ignominy of being a region where about 68 per cent of the rural population defecates in open.
India’s minister of state for Drinking Water and Sanitation Ram Kripal Yadav told parliament recently that 67.68 per cent of rural households in the state still defecate in open. The two Indian states that fare worse are Odisha (77.16 per cent) and Bihar (76.25 per cent), which is higher than the Indian average of 50 per cent.
Many in Kashmir Valley found the figure of 67.68 exaggerated. Former director rural sanitation Showkat Beigh said he doubts the veracity of the data. He explains why.
“Government departments of all states/union territories have to submit the data regarding their achievements through online Integrated Management Information System (IMIS). This data is the primary source of government of India’s reports.
But the tragedy with us is we have not been able to upload our data on time because the government of India keeps changing the password of the site frequently without communicating to us the new password,” said Beigh who took over as director agriculture on Saturday.
The 67.68 per cent figure stated by the minister, said Beigh, is based on the unrevised data.
According to a Base Line Survey conducted in rural areas in 2012, Beigh said, officials had found that only 29 per cent of the population defecated in open.
In another survey, the rural sanitation department had found that 4 lakh rural households had toilets, while another 5 lakh toilets were constructed for the Below Poverty Line households.
“More than 50 per cent of the population in rural areas had access to proper sanitation. So there is no veracity in the government of India report,” Beigh said.