research and policy advocacy for health & wellbeing in India.

Sanitation

Exploring the causes and consequences of widespread open defecation in India

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Sanitation

Social Inequality

Understanding how social discrimination impacts child and maternal health in rural India

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Social Inequality

Maternal Health

Exploring challenges and policy responses to adequate nutrition in motherhood to improve child health

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Maternal Health

Environment

Understanding the health consequences of climate change and air pollution, and exploring policy responses.

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Environment

Where India Goes in The Economist

The book and the SQUAT survey are both quoted in an article in the Asia section of this week’s issue of The Economist: “Indian officials are humiliating people who defecate outdoors: Building lots of toilets does not guarantee they will be used.”

The subtitle is, of course, a point we have emphasized repeatedly here on the r.i.c.e. blog.  The main title is something we perhaps have not talked enough about.  There have been reports of not only humiliation but even some cases of violence in efforts to get people to use latrines.  In our own fieldwork we have met people who have told us that local government officials have threatened to take away their ration cards if they do not comply with the SBM.  It is no surprise that the victims are often low-ranking people in socially excluded groups.

One of the issues we raise in the book is that bad consequences are predictable when states try to get people to do something that they do not want to do — especially in large programs designed by socially distant administrators in physically distant capitals.  This suggests the question of whether the benefits are worth the costs.  Of course,

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Where “Where India Goes” Goes

In homage to the people who posted photos of On What Matters on top of things, a post on Where India Goes has been the past few days.  I won’t start by commenting on the “subtle art” of book curation that must have inspired the shopkeeper who arranged the store in the photo.

A reader has sent me a photo of Where India Goes alongside a newspaper article on a sanitation strike:

Where India Goes went to Azim Premji University on Thursday, where a great groups of students asked insightful questions:

And Where India Goes went to a dance party and a shopping mall in Gurgaon on Friday — and then to the entertainment section:

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Where India Goes: Back in the Kindle store with free sample

Where India Goes is back in the Kindle store.  I know that some of you pre-ordered the book for Kindle, only to have it mysteriously canceled the other day when it was supposed to be delivered.  In fact, that happened to me, too.  I’m sorry about that.  I wrote the publisher, and they assure me that it is fixed.

You can also get a free Kindle sample that includes Professor Deaton’s foreword and the first few pages of chapter one.  I successfully ordered it and had it delivered yesterday.

Thank you, also, to the India Human Development Survey for featuring Where India Goes in its recent IHDS newsletter.  Many analyses in the book would not have been possible without the IHDS.

 

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National Geographic magazine features Where India Goes in August 2017 issue

“The health toll in India is staggering. Diarrhea kills over 117,000 children under age five each year. Millions more struggle on with chronically infected intestines that don’t absorb nutrients and medicines well. The misery cycles on: Underweight women give birth to underweight babies, who are more vulnerable to infections, more likely to be stunted, and less able to benefit from vaccines. In 2016, 39 percent of Indian children under age five were stunted.

The Swachh Bharat mission offers each household about $190 to construct a pit latrine—far more than other developing nations spend. In Jawda, however, nobody uses the latrines. ‘It’s for washing clothes or bathing,’ says a woman in a pink-and-black sari, resting on a rope-strung cot in the shade. ‘We have a lot of open space. Why shouldn’t we use that?’ Grassy fields dotted with wildflowers surround her village.”

Read the full article by Elizabeth Royte: “Nearly a Billion People Still Defecate Outdoors. Here’s Why.”  The article, and the photography by Andrea Bruce, are outstanding.  You’ll read that r.i.c.e.’s Nikhil takes us on a tour of a Madhya Pradesh village, and Sangita provides statistics on child height.

Also,

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More media coverage for ‘Where India Goes’

We wanted to share some more media coverage that the book has got in other newspapers.

It got covered in The National Herald, that uses an extract from the chapter in the book that talks about the world view of the rural people in north India. This world view considers open defecation as clean and latrines as dirty. You can read it here.

The article in The Caravan magazine also uses an extract from the book that talks about how unpleasant it is for the upper caste to deal with the act of pit-emptying. You can read it here.

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Media Coverage for ‘Where India Goes’

We wanted to share some of the media coverage that the book ‘Where India Goes’ has got so far.

An op-ed by Val Curtis in The Indian Express talks about the book in explaining the challenges that SBM faces in meeting its goals. You can read the story here.

The book was also covered in the Huffpost, which carried an excerpt from chapter 4.  You can read it here.

There was also a story by Anju Maskeri about the book in The Mid-Day, It talks about the different kinds of research in the book.  You can read it here.

 

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