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   Monday, May 25, 2020
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Sulabh International
By d-sector Team

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Sulabh International Social Service Organisation, founded by Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak in the year 1970, is the largest nationally and internationally recognised pan-India social service outfit with 50,000 volunteers on the rolls who work to promote environmental sanitation, health and hygiene, non-conventional sources of energy, waste management, human rights and social reforms through education, training and awareness campaign.

It has developed a scavenging-free twin-pit pour flush toilet (Sulabh Shauchalaya); safe and hygienic on-site human waste disposal technology; a new concept of maintenance and construction of pay & use public toilets, being used by about ten million people every day and generation of biogas and biofertiliser produced from human excreta-based plants, low maintenance waste water treatment plants of medium capacity for institutions and industries. The United Nations Centre for Human Settlements has recognised Sulabh's cost-effective and appropriate sanitation system.

The Sulabh has liberated so far 50,000 scavengers from the demeaning practice of physically cleaning and carrying human excreta. Sulabh is also producing and using biogas from human excreta from its 102 plants which is again an innovation in the areas of non-conventional energy. Sulabh is a Non-government Organisation with a major initiative towards setting up a clean living environment, making possible a good and productive community life in a new and discrimination-free social order.

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Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

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