Wednesday, October 24, 2012

No toilet? Then no bride: Indian government's bizarre new campaign to increase indoor lavatories

Dr Pathak unveils a new toilet

 Indian families have been instructed to ensure their future son-in-laws can provide an indoor lavatory before marrying off their daughters.

The ‘no toilet, no bride’ campaign has been launched by the government after it emerged that that more people have a mobile phone contract than access to a toilet.

The instructions were given by the country's Minister for Rural Development, Jairam Ramesh, who recently angered religious groups by claiming India has more Hindu temples than indoor bathrooms.

Over 75 per cent of the 1.2 billion population currently have a mobile phone subscription.
In comparison, only 50 per cent of households have a lavatory and 11 per cent have one connected to the sewerage system, according to the 2011 census.

This has led to Mr Ramesh calling on families to not only consult astrology when deciding the perfect match for their daughters, but also to check if the potential husband has an indoor toilet, the Daily Telegraph reports.

‘You consult astrologers about rahu-ketu (the alignment of sun and moon) before getting married.
'You should also look whether there is a toilet in your groom's home before you decide. Don't get married in a house where there is no toilet,' he warned during a speech to villagers in Rajasthan.

Earlier this year Mr Ramesh branded India the ‘world’s largest open-air toilet’ saying that 60 per cent of the people in the world who carry out their business in the open, live in India.

India is branded the ‘world’s largest open-air toilet’
 Speaking at the launch of an ‘eco-lavatory’ in June, Mr Ramesh said the country should be ashamed of this and that ‘even countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Afghanistan have better records.’

Brindeshwar Pathak, founder of the sanitation charity Sulabh International called on the government to offer cheap loans to help families build lavatories and to make defecating in the open a punishable offence.

As well as a sanitary issue, the lack of proper bathroom facilities is a security risk for Indian women as tradition begs them to rise before dawn to go to the toilet.

This has led to a number of cases where women have been raped or assaulted whilst searching for somewhere to go to the lavatory under cover of darkness.

Sourced from Mail Online 

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