Mumbai: "In the past one week, over 8.5 lakh toilets have been constructed in Bihar, and that is not an easy task to do. The speed and development is not a mean feat. This proves that soon Bihar would catch up with the national average," Prime Minister said during a rally in Motihari, Bihar on April 10, 2018.
Tejaswi Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal was quick to retort with the following calculation:
The average weekly construction of toilets during 2017-18, which saw the highest-ever construction of toilets at 3.2 million in the state, was 61,581, according to official data from Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) (or the Clean India Mission-Rural).
This shows that the construction of 850,000 toilets in a week, quoted by Modi, is improbable.
The data for the week in question are not yet available, but we did find toilet-construction data for the past four years for Bihar.
Source: Swachh Bharat Gramin Dashboard
Bihar has the lowest proportion of individual household toilets (52.73%) nationwide, followed by Odisha with 52.78%, according to the Swachh Bharat Gramin dashboard.
Under Swachh Bharat Urban, Bihar received 473,704 applications, of which 277,678 were approved and 95,921 toilets constructed, which translates to 34% of the state's target, according to data available on the Swachh Bharat Urban dashboard.
The Prime Minister also mentioned in his speech that the Swachh Bharat Mission has transformed the lives of many women in the country. In Bihar, toilets are being called 'Izzat Ghar' (house of honour), PM Modi said.
There are 8,030,117 households in Bihar that still do not have a toilet, which means nearly 32 million people, or 30% of the state's population, don't have toilets at home.
More Indians than ever before have access to a toilet but little attention to education and changing attitudes means that at least 522 million Indians still defecate in the open, leaving millions susceptible to disease and poverty, IndiaSpend reported on January 31, 2018.
Bihar has the the lowest percentage of households (25%) with improved sanitation, and the state recorded an under-five mortality rate of 58 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2015-16, against the national average of 50, IndiaSpend reported on April 26, 2017.
(Salve is an analyst with IndiaSpend and FactChecker.)
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