Comments:United Nations: More people with access to cell phones than toilets in India

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Ya its true. People in India are using the advanced technologies in the field of mobiles and any environment. but still their are some People who do not even get an access to minimum requirements, they need. Not using more number of toilets, I think, would cause to the pollution and make the environment ugly. I think people should think about this and government should be happy in thinking India's now a developing country and in turn should think about improving living standards of the other things that make people better in living,like public toilets and reduce traffic and follow rules.

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Thread titleRepliesLast modified
Alarmist report from the UN213:55, 2 May 2010
UN standards for a "proper toilet"423:44, 23 April 2010
Neoliberalism is dead.1223:14, 21 April 2010

Alarmist report from the UN

I don't understand what all the fuss is about, This is all part of the normal process of industrialization, Luxury accessories arrive first, things like sanitation and medical care show up a bit later. The same thing happened in the west...

Post-Industrialist (talk)22:37, 16 April 2010

It would be interesting to know what those luxury items were for the west, while they still didn't have proper sanitation. For all we know, those luxury items are now considered among the basic requirements like sanitation and medical care :D

-- Sirax (talk)01:26, 17 April 2010

How many times do you use a toilet in a day? Exactly. What's the purpose of a cellphone? To stay with you constantly. I'm currently in halls of accommodation in a University in the UK - and our flat has 12+ cell phones, and 4 toilets. Anyone from the UN reading this? Hence - in terms of pure numbers - there is never a need for as many toilets as the number of cellphones.

IF they're not counting numbers - how exactly do they define 'access'? Asking you where you go in the morning? Indians are the most creative in the world I might add - if you really wanted to go, and were worried about sanitation - you might even walk into a restaurant, sit down for two minutes, drink your complimentary glass of water to get you prepped, walk into the toilet, do your business, and run like hell, before the owner admonishes you. Yes, it probably doesn't happen, but I've just given Bollywood an idea, and restaurateurs headaches. :P

Moreover, a VAST VAST part of India still lives in rural areas - where it literally is "jhaadi ke peeche" (behind the bushes), or "railway ki patri pe" (near the train tracks) (the latter because the elevated bed of gravel for the tracks shields you from passers-by), and in the fields. This has been done for eons! It's biological waste going back into the environment - no problems there.

The issues raised are of water contamination - and this may be attributed to so many different causes. In villages, it's broken down methods of water collection, in cities - it's the same, but it the latter there is also the sheer lack of amenities, and it's a pain associated with numbers, and the large population.

What they'd be much better off doing - first, is to isolate the collection of drinking water, and ensure it's free from contamination. Things as simple as preventing solid run-off from accumulating in a reservoir. I say that because you can take the horse to the water, but it's tough to make it drink. i.e. you can build toilets, but will people pay to use them?

In rural areas - they have access to their local wells and lakes - and they've never had problems for years. The arrival of these capitalist factories, and pollution of these water bodies with effluents of chemical harm, as opposed to biological virulence is a much bigger problem.

Also, a mobile phone occupies your personal space, a toilet needs plumbing and real estate. The capitalists so vaunted for bringing about the phone revolution (might I add that the government phone provider BSNL is still the largest, and the one with most penetration), and connecting people with phones only do things where there is potential for profit. Even if you set up a toilet with an LCD TV for a display of ads, and charged people Rs. 10 a go (they wouldn't go - mind you, they'd just urinate somewhere else - this is inertia) - you wouldn't make as much advertising revenue. A mobile phone on the other hand - as incrementally lucrative as is the lacuna in numbers of toilets and phones. One makes you money, the other costs money. Arguably, the cost is offset by that you'd need to spend on healthcare, but we're talking about the account books of the immediate service provider here.

Admitted, under "CSR" they are building free and tolled- toilet booths (Nirmala toilets - as part of a cleaner Bangalore is a project being undertaken by IT Giant Infosys), but the government has installed toilets at public spaces too!

All in all, yes- more has to be done - especially to clean up - and make functional the toilets that already exist. Having had to use these public toilets - which are hardly cleaned, I wouldn't be surprised if the use promoted infection rather than the opposite.

I'm only miffed that the UN has a WHOLE HOST OF OTHER MORE IMPORTANT ISSUES - where SOLUTIONS ARE NOT SO OBVIOUS - to consider, and SHOW ITS EXPERTISE IN, as opposed to taking an acknowledged problem, currently being worked on - and make a hue and cry about it. What's worse is that the report insidiously links it to a sector in which India is leading the world (cheap, remote communication) and somehow transfers the moral blame for the sanitation problem onto this brigade. I wouldn't call it deliberate, but it adds vitriol to the cabinets of the cynics who scoff at India, and her resilient resurgence, trivialising the legitimate no-mean-feat accomplishments in the telecom sector. While I assume leaders are more mature than to point out such niggles in state-discussions, to try and damage India's projection of herself as a serious power, such reporting will become the cynosure of a discussion that two people might have at a pub - and will always defeat anything positive said about India. They will know - in the back of their minds, that it's a futile attempt to resist the soft-power conquest, but they still continue to take others' dirty linen and wash it in public. But hey, we know how to live with shit. (talk)13:55, 2 May 2010

UN standards for a "proper toilet"

If WC is a standard, India is bound to fail the test. They don't call it 'Western' Commode for no reason. I hope they also derived standards for what can be called "Indian Commodes"; and by definition of those standards some Indian commodes can be considered "proper".

-- Sirax (talk)01:16, 17 April 2010

By w.c. I meant water closet, A sanitary toilet, that is

HaroldWilson'sWar (talk)06:40, 17 April 2010

Welcome to the modern world, here in the U.S. everyone has an iPhone,but can't afford health insurance. Just like in India, people have more access to cell phones than toilets. Guess health isn't important anymore. (talk)12:06, 17 April 2010

Thank heavens for the NHS. The thought of having to buy health insurance I find deeply Appalling.

Apparently health is becoming a commodity for those who want to profit of of it, just like anything else. The Corporations that have the power in this regard are sociopathic, invariably pursuing the same goal: MAXIMUM PROFIT, which they will create a system of absolute despotism to procure. They have no sense of caring or kindness, as they are not human beings. Unfortunately we've left the greatest desisions of our time to these non-Human entities, And they rule the world as they see fit. If a person or institution tries to show a shred of humanity in the face of this, They're labelled a "trade barrier" and the Corporate powers find a way to deal with them.
HaroldWilson'sWar (talk)16:13, 17 April 2010

It scares me that a country would have more cell phones than they have toilets! That makes no sense at all! If anything, it shuold be the other way around!

Musician731 (talk)23:44, 23 April 2010

Neoliberalism is dead.

So, this is what Thomas Friedman meant when he told us Corporate Globalization would make the world flat. It seems he was right, capitalism has indeed flattened the world. I suppose this is "trickle-down" economics, no pun intended. (talk)15:41, 16 April 2010

So these people are suffering because they have cell phones? It may be incomplete, but this is definitely and improvement.

Alas, though, I think the invention of the hand-held toilet may be some ways off... (talk)15:46, 16 April 2010

So you can chat with your mates on your mobile, but you can't find a bloody w.c. Indeed, it's clear Capitalism in making the world a wealthier place.

HaroldWilson'sWar (talk)15:53, 16 April 2010

Oh, yes, definitely an improvement, I suppose it is if you like to wipe your arse with electronics

HaroldWilson'sWar (talk)15:54, 16 April 2010

lol, doesn't the iphone already have an app for that? (talk)18:02, 16 April 2010

This must be why India's life expectancy lags at 64 years... (talk)22:25, 16 April 2010

What's happened in India over the past twenty years is a first-rate Success story. Indians have fallen in love with consumer goods, and their lives are the better for it! The fact that there are fewer toilets than cell phones is simply a reflection of how eager the Indian people are to move full speed ahead into the future. To try to attack "Corporate Globalization" in this regard is ludicrous. The rapid economic growth spurred by Capitalism is probably the greatest force for good in the world today. Cultures are becoming more homogenized and standards of living are vastly improving. The fact that you can order the exactly the same meal in 148 countries is a testament to the Awesome marvel that is Capitalism. If there's one thing that will bring an end to terrorism worldwide, it's "corporate globalization".

Post-Industrialist (talk)23:14, 16 April 2010

ah, an apologist for Corporate greed is here to enlighten us all on how joyous and wonderful monotony is. Suffice it to say, it seems 7 billion people and 10,000 years of culture disagree with you, sir.

HaroldWilson'sWar (talk)05:44, 17 April 2010

Well, North Korea seems like a nice place. (talk)04:07, 18 April 2010

.....This was your first thought? Mine was the exact opposite.

After all, who is probably offering the cell phone services? Public or private sector? Who is probably offering the sanitation services? Public or private sector? (talk)04:06, 18 April 2010

exactly, the private sector is perfectly willing to expand access to luxury commodities for the wealthy upper middle classes, but when it comes to the most basic safety necessities for the average citizen, not to mention the many millions living in poverty, they somehow fail to deliver.

HaroldWilson'sWar (talk)06:08, 18 April 2010

Did you read what I wrote?

If I thought like you did, I would immediately think, "Opportunity!" And try to start up tolled-restrooms around India or start up a plumbing company. (talk)11:58, 21 April 2010

Precisely, the concept of privitised lavatories is ludicrous (despite there being some, such as American free-market libertarian John Stossel who find it to be a splendid idea.) The private sector could however easily provide plumbing expertise and wastewater/sewage infrastructure development, but as business is solely motivated by the potential for profit, this essential public service has not been deemed worthwhile. The government, which has a responsibility to look after the welfare of all its citizens, has not stepped up to the challenge either, likely due to the fact that there is far less money invested in the Public sector than the private , due to regressive tax policies and privitisation of important industries which should be either nationalised, municipally owned or worker-owned for the public good.

Such are the obvious pitfalls of an economic system that rewards callous greed and discourages humanitarian generosity.

HaroldWilson'sWar (talk)13:37, 21 April 2010