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333 Public Toilets In Delhi Can Now Be Located On Google Maps

Help is at hand.

13/07/2017 2:45 PM IST | Updated 13/07/2017 2:46 PM IST
PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images

The next time you urgently need to use the bathroom in Delhi, you won't have to duck sheepishly into the nearest restaurant. Use Google Maps instead.

In a welcome move, the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) has launched a new toilet locator awareness campaign to help keep the city clean. 333 public toilets at petrol pumps, railway stations, bus stands and malls, among other community places across Delhi and NCR, have been added to the Maps database to help the public locate them with ease. The campaign is the NDMC's move to reduce public urination, reported Financial Express.

Within three months, an additional 31 toilets will be added to the database.

In addition to locating the toilets, users can also rate them and leave feedback to help NDMC improve the infrastructure. "Users will also be asked to give feedback for toilets ... The campaign will be run from July 12 to August 11. Once the campaign ends, the cleanest toilet will be awarded," NDMC Chairman Naresh Kumar said, according to an India Today report.

The toilets can be located by typing 'Toilet' or 'Public Toilet', reported Times of India. Within three months, an additional 31 toilets will be added to the database. More than 5,000 toilets across Delhi, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Noida, Indore and Bhopal were tagged as part of a pilot project last year.

In addition to Google Maps, the toilets can also be located using NDMC311, the official NDMC mobile app.

Indian Express reported that NDMC is also in the process of constructing 109 'smart toilets', equipped with facilities such as ATMs, rooftop solar panels, vending machines for sanitary napkins, digital health clinics and user feedback tablet.

In addition to Google Maps, the toilets can also be located using NDMC311, the official NDMC mobile app.

According to the 2016 Swacchata Status Report (SSR) released by India's Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI), 52.1 percent of rural India still practises open defecation. In urban India, the number stands at 7.5 percent. The report also says that 5.8 million individual rural household toilets were constructed in 2014-2015.

Elimination of the practice of open defecation in India has been a key policy promise of the Modi government and one of the driving forces behind the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, launched in 2014 by PM Modi. Under the scheme, the government was to spend Rs 1.9 lakh crore to build 100 million toilets in five years. However, unofficial studies like the SQUAT survey has shown that even in 40 percent of households with toilets, at least one member of the family was still defecating in the open.

According to a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report released in 2015, 30 percent of constructed toilets were found to be dysfunctional.

While unavailability of toilets is a serious factor crippling India's efforts to move towards hygienic living, it is not the only concern. The lack of upkeep of the toilets is an equally mitigating factor. According to a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report released in 2015, 30 percent of constructed toilets were found to be dysfunctional.

In addition to this, lesser funds than ever before are being spent on creating awareness and educating people to use toilets. According to Accountability Initiative, while construction of toilets accounted for 97 percent of the total expenditure between April 2015 and February 2016 of the funds allocated under the SBA, information, education and communication (IEC) activities accounted for only Rs 109 crores, about 1 percent of the total expenditure in the same period.

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