Explosive analysis by new Hindi magazine says government far from meeting its sanitation target

Narendra Modi, Rajnath Singh, Nitish Kumar, Akhilesh Yadav, Sonia Gandhi and many others way behind in meeting the ‘toilet for every citizen’ target in their constituencies

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised a toilet for every citizen by October 2, 2019. But can he do it?

  • Down To Earth Hindi’s inaugural edition does a reality check. Analyses the number of toilets built in constituencies of a number of politicians in the last two years, and finds the going tough. Even Modi’s own constituency – Varanasi -- will not meet its target before 2048!

  • Highlights the challenge the nation faces on October 2, the 122nd birth centenary of the Father of the Nation, who had proclaimed that sanitation is more important than freedom 

  • Down To Earth Hindi is a new environment-development monthly which Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), headed by Sunita Narain, will help publish

New Delhi, September 30, 2016: It is a promise to the nation that has been made in all earnestness. And the Prime Minister and his party in power have every intention of keeping it. With the next elections looming up in 2019, will the government be able to keep this promise made to a nation that leads the world in open defecation?

No, going by the rate at which toilets have been constructed in the last two years – says an analysis done by Down To Earth Hindi, whose inaugural issue will be launched here to coincide with Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary on October 2.

Says Richard Mahapatra, managing editor of Down To Earth: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi has promised a toilet for every citizen of India by October 2, 2019 – the year when the country will celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi. Our analysis says that is easier said than done – in fact, the NDA government might find it easier to win the election than to fulfill this promise.”

In this first-of-its-kind assessment, Down To Earth Hindi has analysed the ‘toilet building’ performance (over the last two years) of a number of Central ministers, chief ministers and a few opposition leaders. In 2015-16, a mere 7,327 toilets were built in Varanasi, Modi’s constituency against a target of 2,34,489 (till October 2019). The magazine says at this rate, the target cannot be met before 2048!

In the case of home minister Rajnath Singh, whose constituency is Lucknow, the achieved number is 5,332 against a target of 1,86177 – Singh can hope to reach the target only by 2051.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav has a target of 5,47,739 toilets to be built by October 2019 in his constituency, Kannauj. He has managed only 8,309. At this rate, he will take 66 years to reach his target (by 2082)!

Sonia Gandhi’s constituency, Rae Bareli, has a target of 2,87,703, and the achieved number has been 6,581; the expected year of completion is 2060.

The other key political figures whose performance has been assessed include external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj; defence minister Manohar Parikkar; water resources minister Uma Bharti; surface transport minister Nitin Gadkari; Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi; Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar; Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar; Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan; Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh, among others (see link below for the complete analysis).  

The magazine has clearly set down the method of calculation used to reach these figures. It uses the same method to estimate that 82.3 million (or 823 lakh) toilets are yet to be constructed across India by October 2, 2019. This means the country needs to build 2.3 million (23 lakh) toilets every month – or a formidable 56 toilets every minute – to meet the target!

Says Sushmita Sengupta, programme manager-water, CSE and the lead author of this analysis: “As per our estimation and going by the prevailing rate, India will not be able to meet its target by 2019 as promised by the Prime Minister – but only by 2022.”

Says Sunita Narain, who unveiled the inaugural issue of the magazine here today: “This analysis by Down To Earth Hindi is also to remind us that building toilets is only a small part of the movement towards access to sanitation for all. Firstly, as we build toilets, we must ensure that they are used, that they are functional. Secondly, we must have clear answers to questions of how can we manage and treat our waste, our excreta.”

• For the Down To Earth Hindi analysis, the complete list of politicians assessed, and the Hindi press release etc, go to

• A limited number of complimentary subscriptions for some months are on offer ONLY for Hindi media journalists on a first-come first-served basis. Please contact

• To know more about this analysis or the magazine, please contact Hemanth Subramanian, 98367 48585,