Sanitation is a huge and complex issue in India. The country is losing more than 6 per cent of its GDP annually due to increased health costs and productivity losses besides losing the revenue that could be generated through tourism. More than 600 million Indians defecate in the open, which makes the country one of the top nations with largest number of people living without toilets, in the world.
The situation is quite grim. According to Indian Telecom Regulatory Authority, there are more than 929 million mobile phone subscribers in the country at present, which means more than 300 million Indians have access to a mobile phone but not to a toilet.
The situation leads to severe problems spanning health, economy, human rights, dignity and environment. The sad part is that the disparities in access to water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities for urban and rural are wide and visible. Even in rural population, the marginalised population like women, children, differently able, Dalit and tribal etc. remain excluded from the facilities. The issue of equity and inclusion poses a big challenge before the nation.
Accepting this challenge, a network of organisations have come together and launched a campaign on ‘Right to Sanitation’. Their endeavour will continue until the objective of ‘Sanitation for All’ is achieved.