Tag Archives | Karnataka

Sanitation in Rural India and Karnataka – How has the needle moved?

Sanitation is among the most dismal and depressing topics in India, across the country. While sanitation in our cities comes with its own set of problems, rural sanitation in India is stuck a primitive stage where too few people have access toilets.

To promote toilet construction in villages, a ‘Total Sanitation Campaign’ was launched by the Government of India in 1999 where subsidies were given to households to construct individual toilets. By means of the subsidy, cash incentives for village leaders and other communication campaigns, the state has tried to promote toilet construction and the need for adequate sanitation for over a decade now. As one can expect, several problems such as  inadequate subsidies, red tape, corruption, plus a lack of demand for good sanitation have all plagued the campaign.

After the Census results came out last summer, there was a major controversy as the census numbers for toilet ownership violently disagreed with numbers that the government campaign was putting out.

This post takes a look at how the needle has moved on toilets and sanitation – be it because of the government scheme or in spite of it  –  in rural India and in rural Karnataka.

As of 2001, only 21.9% of rural Indian households had toilets. After a decade, the percentage of households increased to 30.7% – an increase of less than 10 percentage points. Below is a graph of how toilet ownership has improved across all states of India, arranged in an ascending order based on how things were in 2011.

Sanitation in Rural India - The Transition State

While Kerala, Manipur, Mizoram and Sikkim are states that are ahead of the rest on rural toilet ownership, it is important to note that Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Sikkim and Goa have improved the most in toilet ownership between 2001 and 2011. It is also interesting to note that relatively well-off states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka actually fall below the national average, with Andhra Pradesh barely doing better.

The above performance, however, has been talked of quite a few times by journalists, policymakers and other sectoral experts. To really understand how rural sanitation is improving, one needs to dig deeper and go more granular. This blog makes a preliminary attempt at doing so by looking at all the districts of the southern state of Karnataka.

As shown in the graph above, toilet ownership in rural Karnataka increased from 17.4% in 2001 to 28.4% in 2011. The spread of this growth across districts can be seen in the graph below.

Sanitation in Rural Karnataka - The Transition State

At the district level, a lot of fascinating trends emerge. Firstly, there’s a curious change in the gross “shape” of the graph, compared to the first graph of states. There appear to be three distinct types of districts in 2011: the poor, the middling, and the stellar performers.

The poor performers are the bottom 10-15 districts, that had a low base of toilets to begin with, and improved by only a few percentage points in the last decade. The middling performers are those that had between 10 and 20% toilet ownership in 2001, and all improved by about 10 percentage points since then – similar to the state average. The third type are the stellar performers, who had more than 20% toilets to begin with, and improved significantly over the decade.

However, the most prolific district in Karnataka is undoubtedly Bangalore (Rural) making a phenomenal leap of almost 50 percentage points in toilet ownership. This performance is perhaps attributable, at least in part, to a very proactive civil servant, Manjula Naik, who was the CEO of the district Zilla Panchayat for a while.

One can also posit that how well a district improves is also incumbent on what its starting position is. It is possible that districts with about 20-30% rural toilet ownership have reached a certain stage of socio-economic development, where the prosperity, aspirations, governance quality and cluster effects of some households having toilets spurs the rest in building toilets. If that is so, then the middling districts of Karnataka – Hassan, Mysore, Mandya, Davangere, Ramanagara and Haveri are all ripe for rapid improvements in rural sanitation.

Let us hope that smarter policies and better economic growth result in far greater improvements in the coming decade.

Some of the ideas in this post came about due to several conversations with my colleague, Vijay Krishna

Notes. While this post tracks the percentage of households with individual toilets, a small portion of rural households also has access to community toilets. It is the remainder of households who continue to practice open defecation, along with a subset of the former households who may not be using their toilets.

Data used in this post are available here: States | Karnataka Districts.

Comments { 1 }

Visualising Karnataka’s municipal elections 2013

Urban Karnataka took to the polling booth earlier this month to vote for their corporators and municipal councillors. The elections were to be a four-way contest, with the Indian National Congress (INC), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Janata Dal (Secular) and Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) being the large political parties in the fray. Congress had a significant victory in the elections, securing 1960 of the 4976 seats contested: over 39% of the total. BJP and JDS were far behind, securing but 905 seats each, about 18% a piece of the total seats. The breakaway former Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa’s new party the KJP could manage only 274 seats, less than 6% of the total. Independents won a significant portion of the seats as well.

The Karnataka municipal elections are happening at a rather critical time, with state assembly elections due in a few months and with the national parliamentary elections due in 2014. The results here will have a significant impact on both the impending elections. Twitter and other social media are already abuzz with speculations and assertions on what this would mean for the coming elections, on whether the municipal voters represent the entire state’s dispositions, on the signaling value of Congress’s early win, on anti-incumbency as a driver within the state, and much more. This article limits itself to a brief analysis of the municipal elections and their results, with an attempt to understand who will be governing much of urban Karnataka over the next five years.

Out of a total of 61 million residents of Karnataka, 208 cities and towns with a total of 13.9 million residents had local elections this month. At 22.8% of the state’s population, this covered all of urban Karnataka with the exception of Bangalore and a few minor towns. While most news stories are talking about the total number of corporator/councilor seats won by political parties, what matters is who has been able to win a majority of seats in individual local bodies such that they can form the local government there. Like in assembly and parliamentary elections, city mayors are elected indirectly by allowing elected municipal councilors to select their mayor.

The above graphic shows how many cities and towns of different sizes have been won by individual political parties. Overall, the Congress won 79 of the total 208 seats, with JDS and BJP with 25 and 24 each. The KJP managed only 5 seats, but it is interesting to note that there were 12 urban local bodies where all independents put together won a majority of the seats. Also, a good 30% of the local bodies had no clear victors. These 62 cities and towns will be where a lot of negotiations will take place over the next few weeks so that coalitions can be cobbled together to reach a simple majority.

Click on the map to know more about election results in individual towns.

A quick look at the above map tells us about the geographical spread of each party’s victories in Karnataka’s municipal elections. The congress (blue) appears to be well spread out throughout the state. The majority of JDS victories (green) are clustered in Southern Karnataka, conforming with their traditional strength in the Old Mysore region. The BJP (red) appears to have won towns in the eastern half of Karnataka – ranging from Belgaum and Bagalkote all the way down to Dakshina Kannada and Kodagu.

In all, the Congress has won a significant victory in Karnataka – be it in the number of corporator seats won, cities with majorities and their size. Below is a set of major cities and towns won by each of the political parties in the fray.

Notes. In this article, victors have been declared if they have won more than 45% of the seats in any given town or city. This is with the assumption that by taking on board one or two independents, the party can attain a simple majority. As of writing of this article, 24 seats out of the total 4976 are yet to be declared on the NIC website: most of which are seats from Terdal TMC, Bagalkot district. 

Data used in this post is available here.

You can also take a look at my fellow blogger Karthik Shashidhar‘s work for other visualisations of the election results: Congress Sweep |  Overall resultsDistrict-wise results | Party-wise performance on a district map | 

Comments { 4 }