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Open Defecation – Single Largest Threat to health and nutritional status in India

November 9, 2011

The India Human Development Report 2011 pointed out that open defecation is a serious threat to health and nutritional status in India. Despite the evident increase in the number of toilets in India, open defecation is still practiced widely in India. The situation is more dismal in rural areas, especially in states where more than 75 per cent of the population do not have access to toilets. According to the report, about half of Indian households lacked access to sanitation facilities in 2008-09. More than 60 per cent of households in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand were without toilets. However, the report also says that inequality between the states has narrowed down, and minorities and weaker sections have moved up the ladder in terms of many development indicators including access to toilets.