By Rusen Kumar
Toilet, is prime agenda of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Today at Red Fort, on the occasion of Independence day, in his speech Modi ones again stressed that toilet is ‘dignity of woman’. In his first address to nation Narendra Modi urged parliamentarians and the corporate sector to help build separate toilets for girls in schools across the country by next year.
It is worth mentioning that, with the implementation of the new company law from April 1, 2014 India has become the only country in the world with legislated corporate social responsibility (CSR) and a spending threshold of up to Rs 15,000 crore a yearly.
The new law mandates that all companies, including foreign firms, with a minimum net worth of Rs 500 crore, turnover of Rs 1,000 crore and net profit of at least Rs 5 crore, spend at least two percent of their profit on CSR.
Works carried out by corporate in the area of toilet building is very much part of social welfare spending activity of Scheduled- VII of Section 135 (the CSR Rule) under new companies law. Sensation and Rural Development is priority area of Scheduled-VII.
In his Independence Day address Narendra Modi said, “I urge all MPs using MPLADS funds, spend your money in building toilets in schools. I also appeal to the corporate sector of our country. Under the Corporate Social Responsibility, whatever you are spending, give priority to building toilets in schools.”
He set a year’s target to achieve this goal. “When we again meet here next year, we should be able to stand here with confidence that there is no school in the country where there is no separate toilet for girls and boys,” he said.
Modi also pitched for making provisions for building toilets wherein women should not defecate in open.
‘Build toilets first and temples later’, Narendra Modi made first statement in October 3, 2013, when he was BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate and Chief Minister of Gujarat State. He said, “but I say build toilets before you build temples.” He was addressing a function organised in New Delhi for the youth. “I am known to be a Hindutva leader. My image does not permit to say so, but I dare to say. My real thought is – Pehle shauchalaya, phir devalaya’ (toilets first, temple later),” he said. Many people criticized the statement that time.
Today, The Prime Minister said he is not hesitant about speaking about toilets in his speech from the Red Fort as the issue is related to the “respect” of poor.
“Someone will think speaking about cleanliness and toilet from the Red Fort…what kind of Prime Minister is this? But I firmly believe in this. I come from a poor family and poor family should get respect…this should start from here.
“On the eve of August 15, people will make tall claims. There is an importance to tall claims, even there is a significance of announcements, but then announcements lead to expectations and when expectations are not fulfilled then sadness sets in society,” he said.
He said, “We are in the 21st century. Have we ever been pained by the fact that even today our mothers ans sisters have to defecate in open. Dignity of women…isn’t this is a responsibility of everyone?
“Women and sister wait for dusk. Until then they cannot relieve themselves. How much pain their body will be going through?…How many diseases they must be prone to? Can’t we make provisions for a toilet for the dignity of our mothers and sisters,” he said.
According to UNICEF report, only 48% of rural population in India has access to good toilet and sanitation facilities. More than 50% of population defecates in open and it leads to improper disposal of the waste, sanitation issues and cause of many harmful diseases.