It is fairly clear now that investment in sanitation is actually a facilitator for broader economic, health and social gains. This is the chain of arguments that we encouraged the sanitation ministers of Africa assembled at Addis Ababa to use to bring their finance ministries on board.
A prime minister in the 1980s had famously said that of every rupee spent by the government, only 15 paise reached the intended beneficiaries. This statement symbolised the skew in emphasis on “policy” in favour of “implementation”.
When the benefits of government schemes are actually reaching the intended beneficiaries much more than ever before, the incentive to deny having facilities is at its highest. On the contrary, what does the household gain by acknowledging that it in fact does have access to the facility? Nothing.
As the states prepare to dedicate an open defecation free (ODF) country to Gandhi@150, it is timely for us to analyse how this campaign became the global benchmark for participatory and transformative development.
Just like the country did in the Swachh Bharat Mission, India could lay out a template for other countries on securing national water security by integrating fragmented institutions and making water security everyone’s business.