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Using data from the Indian Human Development Survey, this chapter examines both toilet possession and personal hygiene in India. It shows that the strongest influences on households in India having a toilet were their standard of living, the highest educational level of adults in the households, and whether or not they possess ancillary amenities like a separate kitchen for cooking, a pucca roof and floor, and water supply within the dwelling or its compound. However, in so doing, it also shows that whether households had toilets depended not just on household-specific factors but also on the social environment within which the households were located. More specifically, ceteris paribus households in more developed villages would be more likely to have a toilet than those in less developed villages. The chapter rejects the nihilism of the idea, put forward in several academic papers, that the problem of open defecation in India is an intractable one because caste, ritual pollution and untouchability instil in rural Indians a preference for open spaces.
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- Sanitation and Hygiene
Vani Kant Borooah
- Chapter 2
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