With the arrival of the new year, authorities in India have announced a new campaign to closely monitor Indian defecation practices in order to encourage greater toilet use.
Throughout much of rural India, toilet use is infrequent, and an estimated 600 million Indians defecate in the open.
Increasing the popularity of toilets is a leading priority of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, which views open defecation as a multi-billion dollar drain on the country’s economy and wants to end the practice by 2019. To that end, the government has installed over 500,000 new toilets in Indian homes over the last six months, but to its consternation many appear to be going unused. Many Indians with toilets still view outdoor defecation as more hygienic, because it is occurring away from the home, and so the toilets are being used for storage instead.
So now, Modi’s government is dispatching sanitation officials across the country to more closely monitor the people’s toilet tendencies. The officials will go door to door to homes that have toilets, and survey them on whether they are being used properly. Results will be logged on smartphones and tablets in order to sustain a “nationwide real-time monitoring of use of toilets.”
Previously, the government was only keeping tabs on the construction of toilets, a practice it has proven insufficient.
The government is also relying on some other, unorthodox tactics to promote toilet usage. According to The Hindu, one government department is encouraging citizens to upload photos of unused toilets in order to “name and shame” those avoiding better hygiene.
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