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

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On Incidence of Diarrhoea among Children in India

Drinking water, sanitation and hygiene behaviour, referred to as the WASH variables by the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund, are acknowledged as the three main determinants of diarrhoeal diseases. But the impact of their complementarities on disease incidence remains understudied. This study uses state and household level data to examine the determinants of child diarrhoeal incidence. It introduces indicators of WASH quality and combined presence, both at the household and state levels. It combines them in a novel analysis to understand their roles. In the Indian states, with the worst WASH infrastructure, these variables are strategic substitutes, but as WASH infrastructure improves, they become strategic complements. Thus, resource allocation to lower diarrhoea incidence must take into account the complementary rather than individual presence of these focal variables. Further, the quality of WASH also matters. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, targeting universal sanitation coverage, is unlikely to be effective unless it breaks the Gordian knot of complementarities and WASH quality holding up the burden of childhood diarrhoea.

Innovating Waste Management

Six towns in Maharashtra—Lonavla, Shirur, Deolali Pravara, Umred, Vengurla and Sangola, made remarkable achievements over the last one year in waste disposal and management. A combination of proactive and punitive measures ensured that waste management is seen as part of a larger set of social problems and community initiatives.

Towards Equality in Healthcare

The Rapid Survey on Children shows a new trend of an increased access to healthcare by marginalised communities like Dalits, Adivasis and Other Backward Classes which have made substantial gains in the last decade. However much needs to be achieved in the realm of nutrition and sanitation where these communities remain acutely deprived.

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.

Revisiting Discrepancies in Sanitation Statistics of Rural India

This response to Arjun Kumar's "Discrepancies in Sanitation Statistics of Rural India" (EPW, 10 January 2015) points out that the article does not mention another gap in official data: omission of households that reside in settlements that are categorised as census towns. This response shows that taking this category into account can alter Kumar's observations.

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.

Open Defecation in India

This study identifies 11 issues that have inhibited the spread of a comprehensive sanitation programme. It emphasises the complexity of issues and helps avoid the facile targeting of the poor as deficient citizens, whose latrine practices are viewed as a "primitive" source of social disorder and disease. Recognition that many factors are involved and interrelated might also serve as a warning against patchwork policies that disregard local context in their haste to proclaim another district an "open defecation free zone".

Whose Cleanliness?

The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Campaign) glosses over issues of caste, which is inextricably linked to sanitation work across the country, and the rights of sanitation workers. It incorrectly tries to draw legitimacy from Gandhi’s thoughts on hygiene and cleanliness.

Why Open Defecation

This refers to the article by Diane Coffey et al ("Revealed Preference for Open Defecation: Evidence from a New Survey in Rural North India", EPW, 20 September 2014). I believe the reasons why latrine use is not favoured by many should be understood sensitively by those who administer the scheme...

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.

Drinking Water in Kanyakumari

The example of Kanyakumari district in Tamil Nadu shows that the provision of safe drinking water still remains an unachieved goal, especially in rural areas, with the most severe adverse effects on the health and development of the rural poor. However, India utilises only half of the available surface and groundwater. Augmentation of availability and control of water pollution are necessary to meet the drinking water needs of rural areas.

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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