Sikkim is India’s cleanest state; Nagaland is at No. 5

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Sikkim has been adjudged the cleanest state while Jharkhand comes last in a list on the condition of sanitation in rural areas of 26 states. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state, Gujarat, is ranked 14th.

The results of a survey carried out in 2015 by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) was released on Thursday by rural development minister Narendra Singh Tomar.

It has listed Kerala, Mizoram, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Meghalaya among the top 10 cleanest states.

The states which fared poorly in the NSSO study include Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Jammu and Kashmir.

The National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) member Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is ruling or sharing power in five of the states that have been placed at the bottom of the list.

Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, where the BJP is sharing power with other parties, have been placed at 15th and 16th positions, respectively.

The NSSO conducted the survey in May-June 2015 covering 73,176 households at 3,788 villages across the country. The rankings were given on the basis of the percentage of households having sanitary toilets and using them—either household or community toilets.

Sikkim scored 98.2%. The other scores on the higher side were: Kerala (96.4%), Mizoram (95.8%), Himachal Pradesh (90.1%), Nagaland (88.6%), Haryana (87.9%), Punjab (86.1%), Uttarakhand (80.2%), Manipur (73%) and Meghalaya (73%).

The scores on the lower side were: Jharkhand (17.7%), Chhattisgarh (19.9%), Odisha (24.8%), Madhya Pradesh (24.8%), Uttar Pradesh (27.3%), Bihar (29.8%), Rajasthan (35.8%), Tamil Nadu (39.2%), Karnataka (44.3%) and Jammu and Kashmir (45.9%).

Tomar, who also heads the drinking water and sanitation ministry which released the report, maintained that the survey was conducted in 2015 and “lot of changes have taken place since then” as far as the the Swachh Bharat Mission is concerned.

According to the latest report compiled by the ministry on sanitation coverage, Sikkim has retained the top slot with 99.9% sanitation coverage, followed by Himachal Pradesh (97.11%) and Kerala (96.35%).

Gujarat figures among the ministry’s top 10 list, scoring 79.37% as against 53.4% it scored in the NSSO report. Haryana (87.33%), Uttarakhand (86.42%), Mizoram (84.75%), Meghalaya (82.47%), Manipur (81.04%) and Punjab (78.89%) are the other states which are among top 10 states in sanitation.

Bihar has been placed at the bottom of the list with 25.16% coverage. Odisha (32.79%), Jammu and Kashmir (33.35%), Jharkhand (40.52%), Telangana (42.13%), Uttar Pradesh (44.15%), Andhra Pradesh (47.14%), Madhya Pradesh (47.48%), Puducherry (50.53%) and Andaman and Nicobar Islands (55.14%) are also among the states which have not fared well.

Asked about the NSSO reports that non-BJP or NDA ruled states did better in 2015, Tomar said the campaign “is for all”. “It does not matter for the central government which party is ruling in which state. The campaign is for the entire country and for all,” he said.

When asked about his home state, Madhya Pradesh, securing 24th spot in the ministry’s list and 23rd in the NSSO’s list, Tomar said being a minister he is responsible for the entire country and the government is taking efforts to keep the campaign active across India.

Asked about states like Bihar faring poorly in the NSSO survey, Tomar said the central government is speaking to the states on giving priority to the Swachh Bharat Mission. He said the ministry is also organizing a meeting with panchayat heads from different states to bring them on board to ensure the campaign is successful.

The government intends to make India open defecation free by 2019, coinciding with the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Besides Tomar, drinking water and sanitation ministry’s secretary Parameswaran Iyer, additional secretary Saraswati Prasad and QCI chairman Adil Zainulbhai were also present during the declaration of the survey’s results. (PTI)