World Bank today said it has approved a $1.5 billion loan to India for its ambitious ‘Clean India’ campaign to support the government’s efforts to ensure all citizens in rural areas have access to improved sanitation and end the practice of open defecation by 2019.
The loan, disbursed over a five-year period, will be used for the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) Support Operation Project.
As per World Bank statistics, of the 2.4 billion people who lack access to improved sanitation globally, more than 750 million live in India, with 80 per cent living in rural areas.
More than 500 million of the rural population in India continue to defecate in the open, suffering from preventable deaths, illness, stunting, harassment and economic losses.
“One in every ten deaths in India is linked to poor sanitation. And studies show that low-income households bear the maximum brunt of poor sanitation,” said Onno Ruhl, World Bank country director for India.
“This project, aimed at strengthening the implementation of the Swachh Bharat initiative of the government, will result in significant health benefits for the poor and vulnerable, especially those living in rural areas.
“Incentivising good performance by states and the focus on behavioural changes are two important components of this project,” Ruhl added.