- Improving access to sanitation necessary for gender equality
- There are various economic benefits of improved sanitation
- Proper sanitation for women also leads to their higher literacy rates
Improving access to sanitation is essential for achieving gender equality and economic growth in India, the IMF said.
IMF said its research suggests that improving access to sanitation is essential for achieving gender equality and economic growth in India.
India launched the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan on October 2, 2014 to improve the country’s cleanliness and sanitation problems and end open defecation by building more toilets in India’s cities and villages.
The economic benefits of improved sanitation may also include savings in health system costs, and reduction in illness-related days of work lost, it said.
Poor sanitation not only adversely affects the availability and quality of water, but also has detrimental effects on education, welfare, and on people’s time-use and safety, as well as their life opportunities, said IMF in its annual country-report on India.
According to the world-body’s recent research on India, improved access to sanitation facilities, by reducing the unpaid home and care burdens of women and by improving public safety of women, increases their labour force participation, leading to a positive impact on India’s real output and real per-capita incomes.
Specifically, an improvement in public sanitation provisions which reduces womens’ time spent in home and care work by close to 10 per cent leads to a 1.5 per cent increase in female labour participation and a 1.4 per cent gain in real GDP, IMF said.
In addition, cross-country analysis shows that it also leads to higher female literacy rates.
Indeed, a simple scatter plot analysis of the data suggests that states with higher sanitation coverage have greater female literacy and female labour force participation, the report said.
Since the launch of Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan by India in October 2014, some 31 million toilets have been build in rural areas. Over 1.70 lakh villages have been declared open defecation free. Over the course of last three years, the fight for sanitation facilities, especially for women, has gained momentum. A number of people have undertaken bold and innovative steps to build toilets and bring to fore the issue of the necessity of toilets for women.
With inputs from PTI