No toi­let? For­get pol­i­tics

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

AHMED­ABAD: An In­dian state wants to make it manda­tory for any­one stand­ing for pub­lic of­fice to have a toi­let at home to dis­cour­age the common prac­tice of open defe­ca­tion.

A bill passed by the Gu­jarat state assem­bly on Mon­day also re­quires all ex­ist­ing gov­ern­ment mem­bers to de­clare within six months whether they have a toi­let at home.

“Curb­ing open defe­ca­tion is vi­tal to cre­ate hy­gienic con­di­tions and clean­li­ness and pre­vent­ing wa­ter con­tam­i­na­tion,” the state gov­ern­ment said.

Gu­jarat is the home state of Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi, who has said ev­ery house­hold should have a toi­let within four years to pre­vent the spread of dis­ease.

A re­cent re­port by the UN chil­dren’s fund Unicef es­ti­mates that 594 mil­lion peo­ple – nearly half of In­dia’s pop­u­la­tion – defe­cate in the open.

Squat­ting out­side at night also ex­poses about 300 mil­lion women and girls to po­ten­tial as­sault.

The is­sue was high­lighted in May when two girls were at­tacked while re­liev­ing them­selves in a field.

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