Over 93% of people who had access to a toilet use them, according to the government-sponsored National Annual Rural Sanitation Survey (NARSS).
The share of rural households that had access to a toilet has grown to 77% from 40% in 2014. The annual survey, conducted by an independent agency under the World Bank, also confirmed the open defecation free (ODF) status of 95% of the villages that had earlier been declared and verified.
The government, on its part, has been planning to comprehensively reevaluate the status of every village declared as ODF to ensure sustainability, but that initiative has not yet taken off.
The findings of the survey were presented on Tuesday to an expert working group constituted for the oversight of NARSS, comprising representatives from organizations including the World Bank, UNICEF, Water Aid, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, India Sanitation Coalition, Sulabh International, Knowledge Links, Niti Aayog, ministry of statistics and program implementation.
A government press release said that due to expanding access to toilets, the number of people defecating in the open has dropped by nearly 300 million. However, an estimated 200 million people still do not have access to a toilet.
The government release also said more than 65 million toilets have been built since 2014 and around 3.38 lakh villages have been declared as open defecation free.