Nearly half of India’s 1.2 billion people have no toilet at home, but more people own a mobile phone, according to the country’s latest census data.
Only 46.9% of the 246.6 million households have toilets while 49.8% defecate in the open. The remaining 3.2% use public toilets.
Census 2011 data on houses, household amenities and assets reveal that 63.2% of homes have a telephone. More than half the population – 53.2% – have a mobile phone.
About 77% of homes in the eastern state of Jharkhand have no toilet facilities, while the figure is 76.6% for Orissa and 75.8% in Bihar. All three are among India’s poorest states. In Jammu & Kashmir 8.9% of households still have their latrines emptied by manual scavengers.
“Open defecation continues to be a big concern for the country as almost half of the population do it,” Registrar General and Census Commissioner C. Chandramouli said while releasing the latest data. “Cultural and traditional reasons and a lack of education are the prime reasons for this unhygienic practice. We have to do a lot in these fronts,” he said.
A union minister had recently said that women in rural areas demand mobile phones, not toilets. This was vigorously denied by a 20-year-old tribal woman from Madhya Pradesh Anita Narre. “A toilet is more significant in the life of a woman than a mobile because the former gives them dignity”, she said. NGO Sulabh International adopted Anita Narre as a sanitation champion after the young bride had refused to return to her in-laws house until they had built a toilet.
For more information read the full set of statistics on Availability and Type of Latrine Facility: 2001-2011
- India: bride awarded US$ 10,000 for demanding toilet after marriage, Sanitation Updates, 20 Mar 2012
- India: cell phones may end up bringing toilets, E-Source, 14 Dec 2010
Related web site: Census of India