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Dirty Scam
By D-Sector Team


Jairam Ramesh, who as Environment Minister had created more 'noise' than 'signal', returns to his media-savvy gimmick yet again. Peeved by the fact that one in two people defecate in the open in the country, Ramesh has embarked on ''Nirmal Bharat Yatra'', from Sewagram to Bettiah, to help erase the 'dirty image'. With budgetary support for a family toilet enhanced to Rs 10,000 per unit, Ramesh's Ministry of Rural Development aims to create a 'clean image' of the countryside by 2019. His predecessor was no less enthusiastic; he had set 2012 as the deadline for making the countryside free of open defecation.

Pushing deadlines and re-setting targets have been common in most public-sector initiatives. Understanding public psychology, which doesn't invest in a toilet, has been pushed to the periphery as focus remains on meeting the target of increasing toilet coverage with public money. If 638 million people continue to defecate in the open, what has been the achievement of the past six decades? The Political & Business Daily from Cuttack has recently reported that as many as 45 per cent toilets in Odisha exist only on paper. Without doubt, Odisha is not alone among states in building toilets on paper! Surely, it stinks of a 'dirty scam'?



Your Comments on this article
 
Interesting read

http://e360.yale.edu/feature/how_no-flush_toilets_can_help_make_a_healthier_world/2581/

Posted By: Pallavi Bharadwaj
Dated: Thursday, October 11, 2012

 
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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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