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Water for All: Analyzing Clean water and sanitation assignment Disparities in India


Task: What are the key disparities in access to Clean water and sanitation assignment in India, and how do they impact public health? Additionally, what are the strengths and limitations of current policies, and what interventions are needed to ensure universal access to Clean water and sanitation assignment?



Sanitation and clean water are essential elements of public health that are vital to stopping the spread of illnesses that are transmitted through the water and guaranteeing general health (Yasobnat et al., 2022). With its enormous population and varied geography, India is one of the countries where it is most important to solve the problems associated with Clean water and sanitation assignment. In addition to being crucial for maintaining one's own health, having access to clean water and hygienic facilities may have a significant impact on the advancement of society and the economy. Public health and Clean water and sanitation assignment are closely related issues in India, where millions of people lack access to potable water and sanitary facilities.

A major cause of water pollution and the spread of illnesses including cholera, dysentery, and diarrheal infections is inadequate sanitation infrastructure. This is a serious hazard to public health, especially in rural and heavily populated areas where infrastructural development has lagged. A major concern is the frequency of waterborne illnesses, which lead to high rates of morbidity and death. Children are especially at risk since prolonged exposure to tainted water can cause stunted development and malnourishment. In addition, the cost of treating waterborne infections lost productivity from illness, and early death increase the problems facing the healthcare system and hinder the development of the economy as a whole.


The most recent National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) statistics from 2019-2021 demonstrate significant disparities in access to clean drinking water in India (National Family Health Survey, 2022). The sources of home drinking water clearly show the difference between urban and rural areas. 54% of urban families rely on having water piped into their homes, followed by 16% that use tube wells or boreholes and 12% that use standpipes or public taps. However, compared to metropolitan regions, where 86% of families have water delivered to their homes, 68% of rural households have water on their property. Women over the age of 15 bear an unequal share of the burden of fetching water; in families without water delivery or without a water source on the property, 71% of the women do this duty. This gendered burden highlights the difficulties that some groups of people have in getting access to clean water.

The World Bank estimates that 21% of all communicable illnesses in India are related to unclean water, demonstrating the serious effects of poor access to clean water (lyer et al., 2014). Every year, diarrheal illnesses direct result of contaminated water cause more than 0.1 million fatalities. Even with advancements, a sizable section of the populace still uses unimproved water sources, especially in cities where 4% to 8% of people still lack access to clean water. India has a 20% population but only 3% of the world's freshwater resources, which makes its water situation even more precarious. A country with a high population density will find it difficult to satisfy its water demands due to this imbalance. It is imperative to address these discrepancies in water availability in order to protect public health as well as to lessen the financial burden of waterborne illnesses, which include lost productivity and medical expenses.


India is not the only country facing difficulties with access to clean water and proper sanitation. Similar problems hinder sustainable development and exacerbate health inequities in many emerging nations. Acknowledging the worldwide dimension of this problem, the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) highlights the need for universal access to Clean water and sanitation assignment by 2030 (Pereira & Marques, 2021)

An estimated 4.2 billion people worldwide lack access to adequate sanitation, and 2.2 billion do not have access to safe drinking water, inadequate access to Clean water and sanitation assignment has a huge financial cost that impacts well-being in general, education, and productivity. Collaborative projects, financial assistance, and the exchange of best practices are all part of the international efforts to solve these issues and guarantee that people everywhere have access to the fundamental human right of Clean water and sanitation assignment.

Social Determinants of Health and Their Impact

The Social Determinants of Health (SDH) framework developed by the World Health Organization is a well-known theoretical paradigm for comprehending social determinants of health. This model recognizes a number of important factors, including social and economic circumstances, the physical environment, and personal health practices, that affect health outcomes. By utilizing this paradigm to examine the problem of Clean water and sanitation assignment in India, we can examine the ways in which social variables worsen health disparities in this specific context.

Economic Disparities: In India, economic differences have a major societal influence on people's ability to obtain sanitation and clean water. Access to clean water sources and sanitation facilities is a concern for marginalized people, particularly those living in rural or urban slum regions, due to the unequal distribution of income and resources. Urban areas could have superior services and infrastructure, which could result in economically disadvantaged towns with minimal or no access to sanitary facilities and safe drinking water.

Many urban residents lack access to sufficient drinking water, and over 40% do not have access to well-run sanitation facilities (World Health Organization, 2021). The quality of the accessible water sources is impacted by the economic disparity as well. While those with less money may have to rely on untreated or polluted water sources, wealthy people can acquire water purification equipment. Because people with lower socioeconomic classes have less access to Clean water and sanitation assignment, they are more likely to experience health inequities related to this economic factor.

Social and Cultural Practices: Access to sanitary facilities and clean water is also greatly influenced by social and cultural variables. Long-standing customs, including the open defecation of certain rural residents, may worsen unhygienic conditions and raise the possibility of water pollution. Traditional values and customs may have an impact on how people use water, maintain their cleanliness, and make other health-related decisions. Furthermore, societal structures that impact certain marginalized groups might be a factor in discrimination and exclusion. For example, Dalits frequently experience prejudice that prevents them from having access to necessities like sanitary facilities and clean water (Majid, 2020). As a result of this social marginalization, health disparities are made worse, and disadvantaged people are disproportionately afflicted by waterborne illnesses.

Political and Policy Factors: The allocation of resources and infrastructure pertaining to water and sanitation is also greatly impacted by political and policy decisions. Disparities in access are caused by inconsistent rules, inadequate enforcement of regulations, and low investments in infrastructure development (Wilson et al., 2021). Politically neglected areas may not receive enough funding for water and sanitation initiatives, which might result in long-lasting health disparities. Access to sanitary facilities and clean water can be impacted by decisions made on urban growth and planning. Informal settlements may lack the necessary infrastructure in quickly expanding metropolitan regions, depriving people of basic sanitary services. Health inequalities can persist if broad strategies that address these concerns are not implemented, since marginalized people will continue to suffer from insufficient care.

Impact on Health Inequalities

Social factors that control people's living, working, and social situations are closely related to health disparities Underprivileged groups are particularly impacted by the lack of access to sanitation services and clean water, which is frequently caused by social, political, and economic factors. Due to an accumulation of health inequities caused by this lack of access, rates of waterborne illnesses, morbidity, and death are greater (Smith et al, 2022). As a result, impacted people and their families are forced to deal with the financial burden of treating avoidable diseases, trapping them in a cycle of poverty. A complex structure of obstacles prevents disadvantaged groups from accessing Clean water and sanitation assignment due to the interplay of socioeconomic variables including poverty, education, and political power.

The necessity for all-encompassing remedies that go beyond quick infrastructure upgrades is highlighted by this intersectionality. A comprehensive strategy that Includes the deconstruction of underlying social, economic, and political variables is required to address health inequities, it necessitates a dedication to developing fair systems that guarantee everyone, irrespective of socioeconomic background, has the resources to preserve their health. In addition to providing the necessary infrastructure, ending the cycle of disparities in health necessitates a transformational effort to address the structural problems that keep disparities alive. Societies may establish a more equitable and inclusive basis for well-being and lay the path for sustained improvements in health outcomes by identifying and resolving the underlying reasons.


Evaluation of Current Policies and Strategies

The problems of Clean water and sanitation assignment have been addressed by the Indian government through the implementation of a number of programs and initiatives. The Swachh Bharat Mission, which was introduced in 2014, is one noteworthy project. It's a historic initiative meant to address the nation's sanitation problems and advance good health practices (Saiyad & Desai, 2021). The mission has improved sanitary infrastructure significantly, with the main objective being the attainment of universal sanitation coverage. Building millions of toilets in both rural and urban regions is one of its main initiatives, which supports the idea of personal hygiene in the home.

This improves community health generally in addition to addressing the problem of open defecation. The program has played a vital role in cultivating a consciousness and changing attitudes concerning hygiene and sanitation methods. It includes community engagement and mobilization, motivating people to actively support the mission's accomplishment, Furthermore, 'Clean India' is a concept that the Swachh Bharat Mission has pushed, going beyond sanitation to cover a larger vision of cleanliness and hygiene. It is necessary to make additional investments in water management and infrastructure in order to guarantee that the advantages of better sanitation are not outweighed by water shortage or pollution. Thus, even if the Swachh Bharat Mission has unquestionably improved India's sanitation situation, sustained attention to water availability is essential for long-term improvements in public health and wellbeing.


There is no doubt that the Swachh Bharat Mission has achieved tremendous progress in encouraging the building of toilets throughout India and reducing the practice of open defecation. A substantial decrease in the prevalence of open defecation and improved accessibility to toilets demonstrate the campaign's effectiveness in enhancing sanitation habits (Saiyad & Desai, 2021). But there have been limits to how well it has worked to guarantee access to clean water. Sanitation has always been the mission's first priority, but occasionally it has covered urgent problems with water quality.

The government introduced the Jal Jeevan Mission in addition to the Swachh Bharat Mission to tackle issues related to rural water delivery It is admirable that attempts are being made to improve access to water in rural regions by implementing piped water supplies. Yet, there have been challenges in carrying out this aim, especially when it comes to handling contaminated water in distribution networks. The reality of pollution concerns presents a major barrier to attaining complete achievement, even with the best of intentions to enhance water quality.


Though praiseworthy for its attempts to enhance cleanliness and hygiene in India, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has significant drawbacks that reduce its efficacy. The objective falls short in addressing the critical requirement to modernize the underground sewage system, which is essential to guaranteeing overall sanitation. The dangerous and harsh practice of hand-scavenging is still in use today without enough attention or action to end it, which has resulted in terrible events where workers have died while doing cleaning tasks. Moreover, the mission's primary concentration on building toilets ignores the crucial problem of encouraging their use.

A nationwide assessment indicates that there is a disconnect between the improvement of infrastructure and changes in behavior since open defecation rates are consistently high in rural parts of states like Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Odisha, and Uttar Pradesh (Unacademy, 2022). One factor contributing to the problem is the lack of strict penalties for appropriate trash disposal and sanitary procedures. In order to effectively tackle the issues of polluted water and inadequate sanitation in urban areas, it is imperative to include modern infrastructure and technology. and governance frameworks in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. A more complete and sustainable sanitation policy must also include encouraging water conservation, enforcing strict restrictions against manual scavenging, and increasing public knowledge of water quality.

Areas of improvement

Despite making great progress in promoting cleanliness and hygiene, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan may use specific enhancements in a number of important areas (Behera et al., 2020). Initially, it is necessary to shift the focus away from only building bathrooms in order to guarantee their continuous use. In order to dispute persistent cultural norms that support open defecation and teach people about the significance of good sanitation practices, behavioral modification initiatives should be stepped up. The program should also prioritize the rehabilitation of impacted workers and impose strict regulations against the dangerous practice of manual scavenging, in order to solve this ongoing issue.

An all-encompassing strategy for water management is another crucial issue that has to be improved. Combining effective governance frameworks with cutting-edge infrastructure and technology to treat polluted urban water can greatly increase the initiative's overall impact. Recognizing the interrelated nature of sanitation issues, the objective should also broaden to encompass the renovation of subterranean sewage systems. Furthermore, to precisely track progress and pinpoint areas in need of immediate attention, a more comprehensive monitoring and assessment system is necessary. Increased public education efforts regarding safe sanitation procedures and garbage disposal should be implemented.

The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan may develop into a more comprehensive and long-lasting program that successfully promotes cleanliness, hygiene, and an enhanced standard of living throughout the country by tackling these areas for development. Campaigns to raise public awareness of the value of water quality and encourage water conservation may also be very effective (Seelen et al., 2020). Policymakers can build a more robust and sustainable framework for water and sanitation projects by giving priority to these areas of development, which will eventually benefit people and promote a healthier environment.

Economic and Social Implications

On this Clean water and sanitation assignment it has been identified the India's Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has significant social and economic implications. From an economic standpoint, better cleanliness results in higher output and lower medical expenses. Through the indirect promotion of a healthy workforce through the reduction of waterborne infections and other sanitation-related ailments, the project boosts economic development and productivity.

Additionally, the development of sanitary infrastructure creates jobs and boosts regional economies. The program has the potential to bring about significant improvements on the social front. Ensuring the safety and promotion of dignity of women and girls is ensured by providing them with access to hygienic and secure sanitary facilities. By providing sanitary infrastructure to underserved areas, the initiative also aims to alleviate socioeconomic inequities by promoting equity and inclusiveness. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan also places a strong emphasis on behavioral change, pushing communities to embrace sanitary habits that can enhance general health and well-being.

At the same time, problems still exist. In order to ensure that sanitary facilities are distributed fairly, socioeconomic inequities must be addressed; otherwise, the program will not be successful. Moreover, maintaining long-lasting behavioral change continues to be a difficult societal issue. In order to overcome deeply ingrained cultural norms and habits, ongoing education and awareness campaigns are essential.


Identified Barrier

Evidence-Based Interventions

Public Health Actions

Low Toilet Usage

1. Conduct targeted behavior change campaigns using evidence-based communication strategies to promote the importance and benefits of toilet usage.

1. Develop and implement community-specific awareness programs leveraging local influencers and media for maximum impact.

2. Provide incentives, such as subsidies or rewards, for communities achieving high levels of toilet usage, encouraging positive behavior.

2. Collaborate with community leaders and NGOs to organize workshops on sanitation and hygiene, fostering a sense of ownership and responsibility.

Manual Scavenging

1. Enforce strict legal measures against manual scavenging, including heavy penalties for violators, to deter the practice.

1. Strengthen law enforcement mechanisms to ensure prompt action against those engaging in manual scavenging.

2. Implement comprehensive rehabilitation programs for manual scavengers, providing skill development and alternative livelihood opportunities.

2. Work with local authorities to identify and support individuals involved in manual scavenging with rehabilitation services, including counseling and vocational training.

Inadequate Water Quality

1. Upgrade water infrastructure using evidence-based technologies for water treatment and distribution.

1. Collaborate with engineering experts to assess and upgrade water treatment plants, ensuring they meet quality standards.

2. Implement stringent monitoring systems to regularly test and ensure the quality of water sources.

2. Conduct regular water quality testing in communities, with prompt public dissemination of results to build trust and awareness.

Socio-Economic Disparities

1. Develop targeted policies to address socio-economic disparities in access to sanitation facilities, ensuring equitable distribution (Bharat et al., 2020).

1. Conduct socio-economic surveys to identify vulnerable populations and tailor interventions accordingly.

2. Establish community-driven initiatives that empower marginalized groups to actively participate in the decision-making processes related to sanitation.

2. Advocate for and implement policies that prioritize the allocation of resources to underserved communities.


This is concluded on this Clean water and sanitation assignment that economic, social, and political causes form the foundation of India's complex and diverse inequalities in access to clean water and sanitary facilities. Comprehensive interventions are urgently needed, as demonstrated by their effect on public health, especially among vulnerable communities. Reducing open defecation and enhancing sanitation infrastructure are two areas where the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has achieved impressive strides. Still, its shortcomings-such as its failure to address problems with water quality and the continued use of manual scavenging-need a more comprehensive strategy.

The goal must be shifted from simply providing restrooms to guaranteeing their continuous usage through behavioral modification programs in order to successfully address these issues. Comprehensive rehabilitation programs and the rigorous enforcement of laws toward manual scavenging are also essential. To address issues with water quality, upgrading water infrastructure and putting in place reliable monitoring systems are crucial first steps. In order to provide fair access to sanitary facilities, socioeconomic gaps must be consistently addressed via focused legislation and community-driven initiatives.

Ultimately, persistent efforts should place equal emphasis on the immediate enhancement of infrastructure as well as the fundamental changes to social, economic, and political variables. India can make progress toward the aim of "Water for All," increasing health equity and building a more sustainable and inclusive future, by implementing evidence-based treatments and encouraging community involvement.


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Bharat, G., Dkhar, N. B., & Abraham, M. (2020). Aligning India’s sanitation policies with the sustainable development goals (SDGs). The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) Discussion Paper Available at: https://www. teriin. org/policy-brief/discussion-paper-aligning-indiassanitation-policies-sdgs [Accessed on 18 March 2022]. Clean water and sanitation assignment

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