Increase Funds ForToilet Maintenance and Ensure Hygiene in Government schools in Karnataka

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It’s heartening to see that the Centre has prioritized sanitation as one of the key items on the agenda and girls/ women’s empowerment. The Prime Minister’s plan to make this country Open Defecation Free is a major push towards enhancing the sanitation facilities in our country. 

Schools are slowly opening their doors again, and they must operate within hygienic measures. But what does that mean?
The COVID-19 pandemic presents an unprecedented risk to children’s education and wellbeing. Hygiene interventions play an important role in reducing and preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus and in developing the necessary knowledge for positively impact attitudes of personal and school hygiene practices for students.

In Government schools, toilet conditions are so bad that students, especially girls, try to avoid the toilets on menstruation days. It is no secret that the absence of clean toilets results in girls dropping out of school.

But there is a major gap in government schools in Karnataka. The government, specifically the Rashtriya Madhyamika Shiksha (RMSA) allocates as little as 25,000 per school annually for overall maintenance. This means a school gets as little as Rs 2,000 for all costs including painting, electricity, repairs, and toilet maintenance. This is far from feasible, and as records reflect, this creates a situation where schools are forced to prioritize all other expenses, leaving the toilets on the back burner. Given the prioritization process, often only teacher’s toilets are maintained and these are kept under lock and key. 
 
It is no secret that the absence of toilets results in girls dropping out of school. The dropout ratio is the highest in the age group of 11-13 when most girls hit puberty and the need for a clean, hygienic bathroom is crucial. The average cost for maintenance of bathrooms for a school - including the remuneration for someone to keep it clean is at least Rs. 15,000 a month. 
 
India has been lagging significantly on both these issues. The fact that Karnataka’s spending on toilets in schools is abysmal is case in point. 

Here I request to  Government are

1. Provide separate sufficient fund for Government school Toilet maintaince That is 15,000 per month per school 

2. Provide clean and running water for School

3. Provide menstrual hygiene sustainable  kits to girls 

 
The Karnataka Government needs to ensure a budget allocation of 1656 Crores per annum (for 92,000 schools) specifically for girls toilets in schools to meet the twin objectives of women’s upliftment, education, and improve sanitation levels in the state.

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