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| Last Updated:08/09/2014

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It is necessary, but not sufficient, to build toilets

The Economic Times, 03 September 2014


Successive governments have promised a sanitation revolution. But nothing beats talking about toilets from the ramparts of the Red Fort. On Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi hammered home a message: toilets are a girl's best friend. Modi wants all schools to have separate toilets for girls so that no one quits school.


He has asked MPs, MLAs and corporate houses to be part of the new Swachh Bharat Mission and has set a tight deadline. On August 15 next year, India should be able to say there is no school without separate toilets for boys and girls. Two large corporate houses have pledged .`100 crore each, while a bank has promised to finance the building of toilets in 59 schools.


The urgency is necessary: 82% of the one billion people defecating in the open live in just 10 countries. India tops the list, with around 597 million people, says a 2014 World Health Organization and Unicef report. Despite the Central Rural Sanitation Programme, the Total Sanitation Campaign and the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan, the situation remains terrible. Jharkhand is worst off. Read more....