India's plans to provide toilets for all by 2019
Narendra Modi, leader of the world’s largest democracy and second-most-populous nation, addressed a function in Sydney where he encouraged Indians in Australia to contribute to the building of toilets back in India.
Since his election in May, Prime Minister Modi has passionately pledged his support to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan Mission, stating that his country will be “open defecation free” by 2019. He even took the opportunity to highlight the importance of sanitation in his inaugural Independence Day speech.
"Brothers and sisters, you must be getting shocked to hear the prime minister speaking of cleanliness and the need to build toilets from the ramparts of the Red Fort […] But this is my heartfelt conviction. I come from a poor family, I have seen poverty. The poor need respect and it begins with cleanliness."
The Indian government has been attempting to tackle open defecation for many years. Despite this, the country represents an ever-increasing proportion of the world’s remaining open defecators. A joint World Health Organisation and UNICEF report on water and sanitation states that, as of 2012, India had 597 million of the world’s one billion people still defecating in the open.
Article and photos courtesy of The Conversation