Horizontal and vertical inequalities explaining disparities in access to urban sanitation

Burgeoning urbanisation coupled with policy implementation gaps have resulted in growing disparities in the provision of public infrastructure services in urban areas of India. Apart from the impact of this, a household’s ability to procure basic amenities is also subject to its economic and social condition and the prevalence of social or spatial inequalities. This paper considers a basic household amenity – toilets – and using survey data gauges a household’s likelihood of owning one based on economic and social conditions and infrastructural parameters such as water supply and drainage using a binary multivariate logistic regression model. Horizontal or social group-based inequalities, which are often neglected in the sanitation discourse in India, are found to have a significant impact on access to toilets along with the existence of disparities based on consumption expenditure and drainage. The findings ascertain the existence of multidimensional disparities at the state level, refuting centralised programmes adopted to meet Sustainable Development Goals.