The 'Swachh Bharat Toilet Locator', an android mobile app which finds the nearest toilets and rates their services and hygiene, may soon be endorsed by the Centre's ministry of urban development.
According to a Hindustan Times report, the officials of the ministry will hold a meeting on November 19 to review the performance of the app. The ministry expects data availability of about 50,000 toilets across India, after which the app will be launched.
The app was first developed by an IAS couple - Vipul Ujwal (37), municipal commissioner of Moga, and his wife Sonali Giri (31), an additional district commissioner in Faridkot.
“My wife wanted to use the washroom and we simply couldn’t find one. That’s when it struck us that there is a need for the government to release an app which gives detailed information,” Ujwal, who tied up with two former college batchmates to develop the app, told Indian Express.
The Express report also adds:
Within one week, information on locations of all 600 toilets across urban centres in Punjab were fed in with the help of municipal sanitary inspectors, and this model will now be replicated across the country with the help of demo videos and an “easy” user interface.
The app also lets users add new locations on the map and give feedback and rate toilets. If a toilet's rating drops drastically, the app flags these toilets and notifies the respective urban local bodies.
A report in Firstpost adds:
While the idea of having a public toilet locator is novel, its success will hinge on its effective implementation. The hygiene data that the app aims to collect, shouldn't be merely collated by the Ministry of Urban Development, but should be acted upon as well. It's an established fact that majority of the public restrooms in India are not very hygienic, especially outside urban areas and on travel routes. Anybody who has traveled in the interiors of India are aware of the shortage of clean and user-friendly toilets. Even in cities, the most user-friendly restrooms can be found within private establishments like malls and eateries. In such a case, the app will need to focus on more than tracking public toilets, it will have to also steadily work towards making them more hygienic and accessible.