Pakistan miles ahead of India in improving water and sanitation: study

Published: May 9, 2015


Pakistan has surpassed India in improving water and sanitation access for its citizens, according to a performance index released on Friday.

Pakistan ranked five in the new index developed by The Water Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health in the US, while India occupied an unenviable 92nd position.

Read: Water and Sanitation Extension Programme: Thousands benefit in Chitral, G-B

For 2015, high performance countries include those that have made significant improvement in recent years compared to their peers. Low performing countries include those that showed a standstill or decline in water and sanitation access in recent years, compared to their peers.

India’s ranking of 92nd place predates the recent launch of the “Clean India Mission” by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Sub-Saharan Africa countries including Mali, South Africa, and Ethiopia are also among the top performers world-wide in spite of modest resources, according to the WaSH Performance Index that evaluates country performance in improving access to water and sanitation and in eroding inequalities in access.

High performers also included China, El Salvador, Niger, Egypt, and Maldives. Russia, the Philippines and Brazil on the other hand, were low performers.

Read: Water, sanitation issues: ‘Existing mechanism needs overhaul’

The index compares countries regardless of size and income level. By use this method the report deduced that a country’s gross domestic product does not determine performance in improving water and sanitation access for its citizens.

“This means that even countries with limited resources can make great strides if they have the right programmes in place,” said co-author of the report Jamie Bartram, director of The Water Institute at UNC.

“National governments, NGOs, and aid agencies can direct their resources toward building systems and capacity for action in countries that are lagging, and toward implementation where those capacities are in place and performing,” Bartram noted.

The article originally appeared on The Economic Times

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Reader Comments (44)

  • May 9, 2015 - 7:16PM

    this is the kind of news that excites every Indian that Pakistan is doing well in water, air, education particularly girls education and so on, as we are the same people and could be like at least EEC if not a united nation..i sincerely hope pakistan does well in human development factors better than India does, then we can have a civic debate about civilityRecommend

  • Naeem Khan
    May 9, 2015 - 7:56PM

    Now our Indian friends are asking why these international organization put out these reports where India is not performing as they thought. First it was the Pakistani men being attractive and now this water and sanitation thingy. Oh, by the way majority of Indians in rural areas don’t even have indoor lavatories and it is known that women folks are raped when they venture out in the night to relieve themselves. I say don’t worry my friends, you are going to be Super Power and every thing will be honkey dori. you got Modi now who is going to do wonders for you guys, he may even start a war with neighbor in order to improve the lives of his citizens. Where are you guys now, you never stop to spew venom at Pakistanis at every juncture. It seems some of you are being paid by the government to do so.Recommend

    May 9, 2015 - 8:14PM

    Congratulations to the people of Pakistan for improving the position on the Index of sanitation and water quality. Pakistan is one of the top performers. Water and sanitation are linked together. Pakistan has set a good example for India.Recommend

  • JSM
    May 9, 2015 - 8:32PM

    Congratulations. May you rise from glory to glory!Recommend

  • Ahmed
    May 9, 2015 - 8:41PM

    Mashallah. too glad to hear this.Recommend

  • Sincere
    May 9, 2015 - 8:42PM

    Much appreciated. These are areas where two countries must focus and compete instead of feeding big armies and spreading fear.Recommend

  • Hasan
    May 9, 2015 - 9:13PM

    Naeem Khan: That was absolutely uncalled for, why do you have to put down others to make yourself feel good? The fact that Pakistan did good should be more than enough to make us happy, rather than deriving happiness from the fact that India did not do so good. Hey, there are a thousand and one things that India is better at than us, so quit ruining it for everyone, we can teach them the things we are better at and we can learn the things they are better at, if people like you give peace a chance. C’mon do not let the people of this nation let their heads down in shame because of such intolerant comments.

    Shiv Menoki: Right on brother, we wish you all the best as well, here is to finding a diplomatic and amiable solution to all of our two nations’ problems! :)Recommend

  • usman777
    May 9, 2015 - 9:26PM

    Pakistanis – please don’t use this an way to denigrate India.. We need to stay within our culture and not point out every improvement or another’s blemish to all the public of the world. Water is a serious issues as it causes much illness and death so the misery of another should be not be turned into a contest. Now lets improve many other facets of our country and society.Recommend

  • Mirza
    May 9, 2015 - 10:50PM

    Now this is one news from one of thousands of universities of our nemesis big bad America. We can trust every word of it like scripture. The fact is both Pakistan and India need to take care of basic needs of their citizens not the arms race. Recommend

  • sabi
    May 9, 2015 - 10:53PM

    Agreed congratulations for having mature thoughts.Recommend

  • pak47
    May 9, 2015 - 11:11PM

    Shahbaz Sharif has done an excellent job replicating Turkish assisted Lahore Waste Management Company in Faisalabad, Gujranwala Multan, Rawalpindi, Bahawalpur and rural areas. I hope other Provinces learn.Recommend

  • Malatesh
    May 10, 2015 - 12:17AM

    I must agree..
    From past 5 years we are buying water from tankers. I don’t think even single apartment which built after 2010 got water connection from local corporation in Bangalore.

    Lack of rain, lack of water storage, lack of traffic management are the worst problem in Silicon Valley, IT capital of the world. Recommend

  • AA
    May 10, 2015 - 12:42AM

    We must compare our achievement with India. We are one tenth of their population and much smaller in size and resources. We should thrive on doing better. Once a professor in my class asked a question, We want Karachi to be better than New York or London or Tokyou, what you think those cities want to be better than? Then he said “better than what they are.” Competition is healthy but it may not be healthy enough when you choose a Competition lower than you. How Pakistan can be proud of its performance when, though water is accessible but not available to many. Water shortage and outage is a commonplace in Pakistan, is it not. May be less than India, but we do have millions who use open places for toilet, have we not ? 30 years ago I traveled to Kashmir, I saw stark difference in two occupied regions. In the night, Pakistani side light up, tiny stars all over mountains, Indian side was complete darkness, while traveling back, we were stuck on a meandering road washed off by a land slide. The guide told me that this is a difference, Indians built a web of roads to provide better mobility for their military, Pakistan relies on old roads. But I saw toilets and electricity in places hard to get. It was focus and priority. We must focus on improving peoples life they help themselves. We must also build roads not just to mobilize military but to provide people access to better life and economy Recommend

  • Naresh
    May 10, 2015 - 1:09AM

    Congratulations to Pakistan for this unique achievement. I agree with Naeem Khan and all Pakistani interlocutors that Pakistan is ahead of India in all respects and hope that Pakistan will some of its US$ 50 Billion of Aid etc. with its poor neighbour so that a Billion Indians will be able to have at least a meal once a week if not once a month.
    Many thanks in advance from a Hungry, Thirsty and Poor Indian.

  • Weirdity
    May 10, 2015 - 1:30AM

    But Pakistan is developed first world nation. Is it not? Why compare with third world India?Recommend

  • Sumit
    May 10, 2015 - 2:19AM

    Despite of many challenges, India comes in top five nations in field of economy, trade, IT, software, pharma, space missions etc…..India is part of big international forums like G20, Brics… there is no comparison with you guys, coz you r not even in the race…….but I hope Pak at least give competition to Bangladesh….coz even kangladesh currency taka is stronger then Pak currency, is ……pak passport is second worst passport to travel, this is international status of Pak…….and your Pak is not even a member of G20….Recommend

  • observer
    May 10, 2015 - 2:47AM

    While I have no doubt that water/air quality and sanitation are really bad in India, I wonder how systematic these kinds of studies are. One important question to ask is if the authors did their own independent study of each country or if they depended on the data supplied by the respective governments. If the latter case is true, one has to be rather skeptical of the data coming from countries such as China, which supply highly doctored and agenda driven data.Recommend

  • observer
    May 10, 2015 - 2:49AM

    While I have no doubt that water/air quality and sanitation are really bad in India, I wonder how systematic these kinds of studies are. One important question to ask is if the authors did their own independent study of each country or if they depended on the data supplied by the respective governments. If the latter case is true, one has to be rather skeptical of the data coming from countries such as China, which supply highly doctored and agenda driven data.

    In other words, is some element of “garbage in garbage out” wisdom applicable to some extent here?Recommend

  • MP
    May 10, 2015 - 4:17AM

    What a misleading reporting. It is comparative study … So if India already have much better sanitation and water facilities than Pakistan then obviously our improvement rate will be lower. Common sense also need a lot of improvement among pakistanis it appearsRecommend

  • Indian
    May 10, 2015 - 6:29AM

    Congrats to Pakistan,,huge success,, best of luck to be on topRecommend

  • Alien1
    May 10, 2015 - 6:34AM

    Comparing facilities of 190 million to 1.2 billion..hmmm very unintellectual.Recommend

  • Imran
    May 10, 2015 - 7:28AM

    I’ve been to Delhi and it’s general level of cleanliness and sanitation is far worse than any big city of Pakistan. Far worse!Recommend

  • ask
    May 10, 2015 - 8:26AM

    Well done, Pakistan! May you be an inspiration to India.Recommend

  • Zaida
    May 10, 2015 - 8:47AM

    Naya Pakistan is on the way!! If only there was some way to getting rid of the talking beards !Recommend

  • BOL
    May 10, 2015 - 8:50AM

    What good is all these achievements that you have narrated to you Indians if you do not have access to clean drinking water and sanitation???? You have screened your weaknesses with these achievements. No wonder Pakistanis are a happier nation than Indians!!!! (Its not me saying but the World) Recommend

  • rp
    May 10, 2015 - 9:09AM

    India manages 126 crore ppl Pakistan meagre 15 croresRecommend

  • TheTruth
    May 10, 2015 - 9:25AM


    Just look at every single ET article. When there’s anything negative on Pakistan the vicious Pakistan bashing starts in full force. However when anything positive about Pakistan or negative about India is reported, the comments always talk about civility and respecting India’s shortcomings. It’s hilarious!Recommend

  • Sandip
    May 10, 2015 - 9:47AM

    @Naeem Khan: No, we should not. If anything, we should humbly learn from Pakistan’s experience and see how we can improve ours. Development of our countries is not and should not be a zero sum game.Recommend

  • Akshay
    May 10, 2015 - 9:55AM

    Cheers! Something that made me happy and would make us better! Keep at it… :) Love n light … :)Recommend

  • Milind
    May 10, 2015 - 10:38AM

    While that is good news for Pakistanis, a word of caution and advice… You’re population is bound to explode, though you’re not ‘there’ yet… Better control it, as it will drain your resources and land you in a mess.
    Don’t commit the same mistakes as our Govts did (and continue to do), by ignoring the population, which is a dead load on all developmental efforts. Your population problem is still in control, unlike ours….Recommend

  • jayant Ranapisay
    May 10, 2015 - 11:12AM

    Yes Pakistan is a developed nation, running on Aid/Loans. India is 3rd world nation , running on its own money and steam ! Recommend

  • JSM
    May 10, 2015 - 11:41AM

    Please see the following link:

    ET Please publish itRecommend

  • almas mohommad
    May 10, 2015 - 11:54AM

    well said hasan it is high time that these achievements are enjoyed by all people of 3 countries again it gives no pleasure to anybody if you deride others again naeem please follow and let the world know how prophect mohommad pbuh walked the talk of all he said in his life how on earth we as muslims can inform others about his life pl be cateful nr t time Recommend

  • Innner
    May 10, 2015 - 1:10PM

    I think Pakistanis want to drink clean water, so people try to invest in getting clean water for themselves, either through private sector, or demanding the government to spend their tax money on clean water projects.

    Honestly, I think, there is so much work to do. I want to see the day, when I can drink water straight from the tab in my home, without filtering it or boiling it in anyway.

    Also, factories polluting rivers/streams, need to stop. The government need to pass a law on that and enforce it.

    The sewerage system is also a concern, as it can pollute the water under the ground which many people in Urban areas rely on.

    I think creating a demand for clean water is the first step in getting clean water, because then people would be willing to spend their $$$$ , and create an industry that fulfills their demand.Recommend

  • Innner
    May 10, 2015 - 1:20PM


    I want to see Pakistan compete with countries like Japan . Japan has far less resources than Pakistan, yet with discipline, they have progressed so much, even after being nuked, and and being hit by natural disasters, they always seem to bounce back. That is something inspiring and worth looking into.

    And honestly, why the term “compete” should used with countries like Japan anyway? When rather we can be inspired and learn from each other.

    India on the other hand is everyone’s worst nightmare. Not even sure why “comparison” is even being made. Recommend

  • Anurag
    May 10, 2015 - 1:44PM

    Cursing my luck that I was not born in subsaharan Africa or Pakistan…These countries are way higher in improving sanitation… Damn! Recommend

  • rkfromny
    May 11, 2015 - 1:57AM

    Yea sure… wonder where and who collected the data… whole place is riddled with terrorists … so who went and collected this data ?? Probably the folks in the university called Pakistani water depth and they gave some figure and it was accepted.. !! After all pakistan is a rich progressive leader of free world.. right..?? HahahahahaRecommend

  • Jim
    May 11, 2015 - 8:45AM

    Excellent. One hopes Pakistan takes this as a cue and does well in many areas of health, sanitation, education etc. These are the areas the two countries should really compete and cajole each other instead of building and stocking more nuclear weapons and other arms. Recommend

  • AM
    May 11, 2015 - 9:41AM

    Report says, Pakistan miles ahead not only from India but also from Switzerland in improving water and sanitation. BIGEST JOKE OF THE YEAR.Recommend

  • Demolition Woman
    May 11, 2015 - 10:56AM

    Well this is all well and fine. The only problem is that if current trends continue, the country will soon ( in 5 years time ) transcend from a water-challenged country to a drought-stricken country. While part of the problem may lie in India using more than the agreed amount of water from the rivers feeding the Indus, the lion’s share rests with water mismanagement by the concerned authorities in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Raz
    May 11, 2015 - 12:50PM

    Everything is a joke when it comes to PK (or even other countries) than India.
    Keep on living in your own bubble and denial.
    E.g. India is world leader (simply no. 1) in malnutrition (worse than any other country in the world). Think about that and you people think so high of yourselfs? Africa´s GDP is better than India´s. Your economy can not even match Nigaria´s. Period.Recommend

  • Inner
    May 11, 2015 - 2:22PM

    @Shiv Menoki:

    “this is the kind of news that excites every Indian that Pakistan is doing well in water, air, education particularly girls education and so on”

    Yes I can see the “excitement” by Indians in the comment section.Recommend

  • Inner
    May 11, 2015 - 2:33PM


    I sorta agree with you, I think larger populations can be managed, provided you put an effort to manage them.

    You can raise humans like animals with 3 meals a day, but humans are not animals, we need so much more than that, education, culture, civility, discipline, rights and duties. To make a population functional.

    Population problem is not just about resources but it is also about culture as well. Recommend

  • Reza
    Jun 23, 2015 - 10:52PM

    That’s quite disingenuous, considering India is a much bigger recipient of International Aid than Pakistan. Probably the biggest in the world.Recommend

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