The great sanitation stink

Recently, addressing a workshop of state secretaries in-charge of Rural Water Supply and Sanitation, Jairam Ramesh​, the minister for rural development, termed it a shame that 58% of the world’s open defecation happens in India. Anyone who has worked on sanitation would take this figure with a pinch of salt, knowing how misleading sanitation coverage figures are – possibly not just in India, but all over the developing world.

A country that aspires to be a global superpower lags behind numerous other poorer countries when it comes to a ranking on the basis of the proportion of population with access to improved sanitation. In India, sanitation seems to suffer from a policy blind-spot, being overshadowed as policymakers miss the link between sanitation, hygiene, health and productivity. This has led to numerous unsuccessful policy attempts to address the issue. There are of course hundreds of successes, but rarely have they been replicated or scaled up to a degree that matters. In this piece, we would like to highlight a few broad challenges.

Excerpt from our piece published on livemint

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