NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is launching a nationwide online programme to check whether people are using toilets as part of his cleanliness drive.
From next month, officials will head out with mobile phones, tablets and iPads to report on whether toilets are being used in rural India, with results uploaded onto a website in real time.
India’s shortage of toilets costs the country more than $50 billion a year, mostly through premature deaths and hygiene-related diseases, according a World Bank study. India suffers a greater cost than other Asian countries from the poor collection of human excreta, the study found.
About 626 million Indians defecate in the open compared with 14 million in China, the World Health Organisation said in a 2012 report.
Since taking office in May, Modi has repeatedly lamented the poor state of sanitation and public cleanliness in India, vowing to solve the problems within the next five years.