India is witnessing rapid urbanisation but there is no planning and citizen exhibit utter disregard for sanitation. This will lead to huge social cost in terms of poor health of work force and increase in sick people.
A report by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, released this month (July 2013), has vast data on sanitation and other aspects related to urbanisation, including access to housing, basic amenities and health indicators.
The number of households without drainage facility has gone up by 2.5 million over the past 10 years, according to the statistical compendium of urban indicators. The report has been compiled on the basis of information in Census 2011 and Census 2001, apart from results of surveys of National Sample Survey Organisation (NSS) and other sources.
The report, however, has some good news around this saniation needs. It says the overall percentage of such houses without drainage has gone down.
The number of houses with "no drainage" had gone up from 11.88 million in 2001 to 14.38 million in 2011. But, their percentage has gone down from 22.1 percent to 14.38 percent.
There is a similar increase in the number of urban households whose dwellings were "dilapidated".
It was 1.93 million in 2001 and 2.27 million in 2011. However, their percentage fell from 3.6 percent to 2.9 percent.
There was marginal decline in households without latrines with their numbers going down from 14.11 million in 2001 to 14.7 million in 2011.
Spending on education very low in rural India
Households in 18 of 35 states and Union territories spent more on paan, tobacco and alcohol than education on an average a month in rural areas in 2011-12 (July-June), according to the 68th round of the NSS.
There are some surprises such as Gujarat, Mizoram and Lakshadweep, as these have banned the sale and consumption of liquor.
In Gujarat, a household spent Rs 44 on intoxicants and Rs 34.09 on education on an average in a month in 2011-12. The situation was, better in 2009-10, when expenditure on education was Rs 26.08 and on intoxicants Rs 31.87.
In Odisha, the spending on education doubled to Rs 20 per household in 2011-12 from Rs 10 in 2004-05 but on intoxicants increased to Rs 30 from Rs 10.
Tobacco products and alcohol dented a rural household's pocket by Rs 75.41 in Rajasthan, while education got only Rs 64.66 in 2011-12.
In Jharkhand, the sending on intoxicants was Rs 32.15 against Rs 21.61 education expenditure a month in 2011-12.
In the NSS, education not only includes tuition fees or admission fees but also library fees, and expenditure on newspapers, books, magazines and journals.
Taking rural India as a whole, there was only a marginal difference between the monthly spending of households on intoxicants and education.
Rural India had spent Rs 45.93 monthly on tobacco and alcohol and just an 8.8 per cent higher sum at Rs 49.97 on education in 2011-12.
Over the years, this situation has not improved much. In 2009-10, rural households spent Rs 31.11 on tobacco and alcohol, and Rs 37.79 on education.