ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Sanitising Caste

Total sanitation cannot be achieved merely by allocating more funds.

In early February, Union Rural Development Minister toilet. That he apparently put the onus of wanting a toilet Jairam Ramesh caused something of a media storm in a on women angered some, others were baffl ed with the teacup when he said that the country has 700 million comparison. Not only were the good minister’s numbers wrong mobile phones and as many people who do not have access to a (India now boasts about 900 million mobile phone subscribers)the statement does nothing to illuminate the challenges facing sanitation in the country.

Last year, speaking at the release of the United Nation’s 2011 Human Development Report, Jairam Ramesh had pointed out that while Rs 20,000 crore was being spent annually on providing drinking water, the expenditure on sanitation was only a tenth of this amount. Funding for sanitation has indeed been woefully inadequate, with only Rs 7,890 crore having been spent under the Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) from its inception in 1999 until February this year. In 2010-11, the central government’s allocation under the TSC was Rs 1,529 crore. This is a far more revealing comparison than looking at the number of mobile phones and toilets.

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