Toilets for all

Could he (Union Rural Development Minister, Jairam Ramesh) name one area where individual contribution would make a difference? His answer is surprising: toilets.

“To my mind, the single biggest issue that we face is sanitation,” he says. “Fifty-eight per cent of all open defecations in the world are in India. Fifty to seventy-five per cent of all Indian women defecate openly. It is a national shame, a national blot. We are trying to entice people to use toilets. We have built lakhs of toilets but people aren’t using them. We are trying to start a major Clean India campaign; communication programmes and such.”

In this article, the author seems to have been struck by a new realisation – that toilets are important. And that’s part of the problem. Sanitation is urgent, and complex – and should have been our priority five decades back.

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