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What A Difference A Year Makes!

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been addressing issues that are pertinent to grassroots India. Now will his words be translated into action? 

10/1/2014 12:46:07 PM
written By : Ashali Varma Print

There is a new urgency in the air around India. You hearabout it and see it such as reports that bureaucrats have to actually clock in sharp at 9 am and files have to be cleared for action in 48 hours: Indian Railways have been given orders to offer passengers better food, easy ticketing procedures, cleaner environment and key trains have to run on time, Thank God! 

Apart from several growth initiatives, which will be pointed out later in this article, the quality I like most about our new Prime Minster Narendra Modi is his we ‘Need more toilets not temples’ quote. Recently The Economist reported that the Modi government has given itself a deadline to eradicate open defecation by 2019. Recent reports that have shamed India state that around 600 million defecate in the open here - mainly in rural India. It is not that some homes cannot afford toilets but a primitive caste based mindset that only Dalit’s can poop in their own backyards and upper caste Hindus have to go in the open as it is cleaner and not anywhere near home! So India beats even Pakistan in open defecation and filth. But Modi has taken this issue up on a war footing, which includes deadlines for cleaning the Ganges and Varanasi. Gandhi’s famous quote, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” has been taken out after being mothballed for 60 plus years by the Congress government and is being used to inspire stakeholders to change habits. Toilets are easy to build but medieval mindsets more difficult to change.  And I am mortified that in the 21st Century we still have so much backwardness because not much was done till now to change it.

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