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

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Methodological Challenges in Estimating the Impact of Improved Sanitation on Child Health Outcomes

In this article, the findings of selected observational studies are contrasted with that of randomised experiments conducted to estimate the impact of improved sanitation on child health in India. The estimation bias exists and could be due to the measurement error in sanitation indicators, which remained unaddressed by most observational studies. The sanitation indicators used and the inadequate questions asked to measure it, result in a measurement error.

Unravelling the ‘Black Town’

A Hygienic City-Nation: Space, Community, and Everyday Life in Colonial Calcutta by Nabaparna Ghosh, New Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 2020; pp xvi + 224, `795.

Rethinking Right to Water

Availability and accessibility of adequate water is critical for maintaining optimum sanitation and leading a healthy life. However, it has taken a global pandemic to make this fact evident. Maintaining adequate hand hygiene is a prerequisite for avoiding the novel coronavirus infection; global...

Revisiting Open Defecation

Since October 2014, the Government of India has worked towards the goal of eliminating open defecation by 2019 through the Swachh Bharat Mission. In June 2014, the results of a survey of rural sanitation behaviour in North India were first reported. The results from a late 2018 survey that revisited households from the 2014 survey in four states—Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh—are presented. Although rural latrine ownership increased considerably over this period, open defecation remains very common in these four states. There is substantial heterogeneity across states in what the sbm did and how. These outcomes suggest the need for a transparent, fact-based public dialogue about the sbm, its costs and benefits, and its accomplishments and means.

The 'Spittoon Syndrome'

The unsanitary and uncivilised act of spitting is a culture-specific syndrome. New strategies need to be designed to tackle this problem.

Hand-Washing and Public Health

The importance of hand-washing in personal and public hygiene has evolved over the centuries. While the market with its countless number of soaps and hand-wash products for personal hygiene with the accompanying advertising has created a false sense of security, it is community hygiene implemented through public health measures that is really effective in the battle against disease.

Understanding Issues Involved in Toilet Access for Women

While insufficient sanitation facilities often get represented in statistics and are reported in the literature on urban infrastructure planning and contested urban spaces, what is often left out is the everyday practice and experience of going to dysfunctional toilets, particularly by women. By analysing the practices and problems associated with toilet use from a phenomenological perspective, this article aims to situate the issue in the everyday lives of women.

Discrepancies in Sanitation Statistics of Rural India

The inadequate availability of drinking water and proper sanitation, especially in rural India, leads to innumerable deadly diseases, harms the environment, and also affects vulnerable populations, such as persons with disabilities and women, exposing them to sexual violence. Providing access to sanitation facilities in rural areas of India has been on the agenda of the Government of India for the past three decades. However, a reinvigorated thrust to provide adequate sanitation facilities in rural India is the need of the hour, which must be accompanied by constant scrutiny and monitoring, so as to arrive at apt decisions and policies for further action.

Revealed Preference for Open Defecation

Despite economic growth, government latrine construction, and increasing recognition among policymakers that open defecation constitutes a health and human capital crisis, it remains stubbornly widespread in rural India. We present evidence from new survey data collected in Bihar, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Many survey respondents' behaviour reveals a preference for open defecation: over 40% of households with a working latrine have at least one member who defecates in the open. Our data predict that if the government were to build a latrine for every rural household that lacks one, without changing sanitation preferences, most people in our sample in these states would nevertheless defecate in the open. Policymakers in India must lead a large-scale campaign to promote latrine use.

Declining Social Consumption in India

The declining trend in the use and provision of basic amenities needs immediate attention at the policy level. The main reason for this decline is the low efficiency in managing resources like drinking water, where distribution and transmission losses are high. Policy-making should also focus on demand-side aspects like increasing water use efficiency, recycling and promotion of watersaving technologies.
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