Coercion-induced 26% Hindi belt open defecation decline "unlikely" to last: Study -Rajiv Shah
Sharply contesting the Government of India claim that “open defecation has been entirely or largely eliminated” in the Hindi belt, a recent study, “Changes in open defecation in rural north India: 2014-2018” has found that “between 42% to 57% of rural people over two years old defecate in the open” in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
Based on a survey of 1,558 households involving 9,812 individuals, and 156 “qualitative interviews”, the survey finds that there was inter-state variation – 25% in Bihar, 39% in Uttar Pradesh, 53% in Rajasthan and 60% in Bihar – the study says even this was a better showing than what it was previously, though achieved through coercion.
Predicting that coercive tactics are unlikely to remain effective for long, the study says, compared with 2014, when the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance came to power, there was 26 percentage point reduction in open defecation in 2018, which is more than six percentage points per year, “rapid compared to the likely rate of decline in prior years.”
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