Eighteen states, including Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Telengana and West Bengal, have set the ambitious target of making 400 cities and towns free of open defecation (ODF) by December.
Only the New Delhi Municipal Council area in the national capital aims to achieve this target in the same time frame.
To work out the strategy to meet the deadline, Centre has called a two-day brainstorming session of municipal heads and commissioners from 42 towns and cities in Delhi. According to government records, at present about 13 per cent urban households in India have no toilets and 7 per cent of urban population use public toilets.
"Since ODF is one of the most crucial benchmark for any urban area to be clean, there is special focus on ensuring everyone has access to toilets for both individual households and public," said a ministry official.
He added that besides toilets, a proper mechanism is needed to process and dispose off human and liquid waste. "That's a bigger task, which will be discussed in detail," an official from the ministry of urban development said.