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

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Is India Really Transforming?

Narratives from Dabok, Rajasthan

An exploration of the role of prominent social institutions such as caste, and its interplay with the access to sanitation focuses on one of the caste groups, Rangaswamis, living in Dabok in Rajasthan, and their ordeal with the current development programmes. It also looks at the role of caste and its interventions in development initiatives, besides discussing the ambitious Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, which has failed due to its top-down approach.

On 2 October 2014, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBA) was launched by the Prime Minister with certain objectives. The launch of such a mission with much fanfare evoked sanguine hopes from people across the nation. This mission was certainly an extension of the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan which was under operation from 1999 to 2012 (launched by the UPA-led central government). The SBA (Gramin) was launched with an intent to construct as many as 12 crore toilets in rural India and establish an open defecation free (ODF) India by 2 October 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of M K Gandhi. The budgetary provision would be granted by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS).

While this initiative is highly noteworthy, it is crucial to identify the efficacy of its implementation at the grass roots. This article shares the findings from a recent study in Dabok village, Udaipur district, Rajasthan. Furthermore, it tries to explore the deep-rooted caste inequalities embedded in the Indian social system and its implications for the SBA. It argues as to how caste has an impact on the access to sanitation and community behaviour.

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