Thursday, March 24, 2016

UN study: Households in "model" Gujarat less likely to prefer toilets than Bihar, Kerala, North-Eastern states

By Our Representative
In what could be a major shocker for India’s top policy makers, a United Nations sponsored new study on households’ preparedness to have toilets has found that households in Gujarat, a “model” state for others to follow, are likely to have a preference for toilets than Bihar, Kerala, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Uttaranchal and majority of North-Eastern states.
Carried out by the Asia-Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade (ARTNeT), an open network of research and academic institutions and think-tanks in the Asia-Pacific region in Bangkok, in coordination with UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the study says that “households in the North-Eastern Indian States of Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya etc. and the southern state of Kerala using a toilet facility are much higher than a household in Delhi (the reference state).”
“A household in Tripura is 761.5 times more likely to use a toilet than a household in Delhi”, the study says, adding, as for “Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu”, the probability of these states’ “households using a toilet in these states is lower than in Delhi.”
“This result may be the consequence of some inherent state culture, such as the North-East Indian states and Kerala having higher literacy rates, and hence better awareness about hygiene, or due to state-level differentials in sanitation infrastructure, namely availability of water and closed drainage systems”, the study, “Demand for household sanitation: The case of India” by Anurag Banerjee, Nilanjan Banik, and Ashvika Dalmia, says.
It adds, “In fact, in Kerala communities like the Nairs and Ezhavas, and in Meghalaya the Khasi, Jaintias, and the Garo tribes (comprising majority of the population) practice matriarchy, where women have power in activities relating to allocation, exchange, and production. This can also explain the prevalence of more toilet users in these states.”
The study points out, “The results indicate, households are more likely to use toilets if the educational level among women member is high, they are wealthy in terms of access to banks and own hectares of agricultural land, have a high standard of living, and if the family lives in urban areas. Households are less likely to use toilets if the household head is Hindu, belongs to the SC, ST or OBC caste, and if they reside in certain states such as Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh.”
Carried out to find out why people across India prefer – or do not prefer – toilets against the backdrop of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swacch Bharat campaign, begun in 2014, the uses demographic and health survey data to create a wealth index, and use it to rank household preference for toilets vis-à-vis 20 other different consumer durables – cot, watch, mattress, chair, bicycle, table, electric fan, television, pressure cooker, radio, motorcycle, water pump, mobile telephone, sewing machine, refrigerator, tractor, animal drawn cart, thresher, and computer.
“Our results suggest, among lists of household items that any individual want to have, toilets get a lower preference – ranked 12, out of 21”, the study says, regretting, “Television and motorcycle both ranks higher than toilets. It means these two items will be adopted at a lower level of wealth before a toilet.” Coming to the religion variables, the study says, it demonstrates that “a Muslim household using a toilet is 5.4 times higher than a Hindu household”, and even "a Christian household is 1.3 times more likely to adopt toilet in comparison to their Hindu counterparts.”
Suspecting that this could be due to caste system, the study says, under Hinduism “the customary circumvention of excreta is sustained by keeping defecation away from the house and entrusting the clean-up job to the so-called ‘untouchables’ or ‘lower’ castes.”
Click HERE to download study


Anurag Banerjee said...

I wish you would put the link our paper you quoted

Anurag Banerjee

Editor, Counterview said...

We have given the link. Thanks.