The inaugural edition of Down To Earth Hindi carried a cover story on the challenge of sanitation in India. The story analysed whether, and how, Prime Minister Narendra Modi can fulfil his desirable promise of toilets to all households by October 2019. It found that the government will have to construct one toilet every second non-stop till October 2019 to provide toilets to all the families who defecate in the open. But the 30-odd sanitation experts and senior government officials, who gathered in Delhi to discuss the cover story and to take stock of sanitation in India, say the challenge is even bigger and beyond toilet construction. According to their assessment, bringing the behavioural change that will ensure use of toilets will be the toughest task. At the same time, the group had many successful experiences of not just building toilets but also of making people use them. Down To Earth features three government officials who have successfully fought the scourge of open defecation, while asking the top Indian government official in charge of the mission to chart out the strategy to achieve this goal. It is clear that when it comes to sanitation there is no debate on its importance; the debate is on the right choice of strategy.
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