Recently the government has proposed to mobilize public support for naming and shaming non-users of toilets in rural India in order to give push to its Swachh Bharat Mission, which aims at attaining a 100 per cent Open Defecation Free India by 2019.
Under this proposal, those living in rural areas can directly upload photos of non-usage of toilets on the social media and on the website of the Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. The Ministry wants to mobilize people to check and verify the use of toilets in the rural areas and enable them to post photos or upload data through mobile phones, tablets or I-Pads.
+ Do you think naming and shaming is an ethical strategy to push people to build and utilize toilets properly? Justify. (150 Words)
+ In your opinion, how can government influence attitude of the people though alternative methods and tools? Suggest. (150 Words)
Open defecation in India is caused by lack of access to toilets, along with some culturally taboos. It has been observed that even with increased access and toilets at home, people still prefer defecating in the open.
Naming and shaming is intended to create social pressure to use toilets. But, it also infringes on privacy. So, even though pictures will be uploaded, they might be sufficiently distorted so as to remove the identity of the person, and thus removing the efficacy of the whole exercise.
The government has started an initiative to make India free of this malaise by 2019. But to do this government needs to focus its policies and needs to make use of many ways like awareness, incentive and recognition to influence people than naming and shaming them.
The practicality of the whole exercise is also questionable as majority of the people who defecate in the open are poor and of rural background and they are the ones with least internet penetration. The ‘Naming and Shaming’ exercise may be misused by antisocial elements to harass girls or women.
Forceful change may erode the willingness for such a change. Thus, without knowing and seeing the importance of sanitation for the individual and the community, such a change is unlikely to materialize.
Alternatives to Naming and Shaming:
- village, area leaders must be convinced about the importance of usage of toilets and used to spread awareness
- Mass awareness in rural areas through ads in print and digital media, TV, plays
- Health camps about the risks of open defecation and benefits of using toilets.
- Employ singers and performers of local folk songs, folk theatre to spread awareness regarding the ill effects of open defecation will help the cause.
- Including Panchayat institutions in this campaign and taking them accountable to building and using of toilets in respective villages will be beneficial.
- Recognition of villages that achieve high rates of open defecation free society adds as incentive.
- Making people aware of the issues of women safety and risks they are prone to by this practice also can push people to build private toilets and use them.
- Proper water supply is a must, along with other impediments which might cause people to prefer open defecation.
- Create efficient drainage system and connect the toilets with the drainage system or else the toilet will stink and fall into disuse.
- The government should also provide eco toilets where drainage system not possible.
This issue is something more related to behavioural aspect and it is hard to force people against their will. It needs constant persuasion and influence. When change is brought from within, it is the only change that lasts.
(1). Accessibilty of toilets due to economic status
(2). Behavioural and cultural reason of unwillingness to use toilet