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Toilet Increases Marriage Prospects!

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By Mukta Kaushik

LUCKNOW : Having a toilet in one’s house improves the prospects of finding good marriage matches for siblings. A sanitation survey conducted in Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu has revealed this interesting fact.

This might act as one of the reason to end open defecation but still defecating in the open is a norm in most part of the country. To achieve its goal of eliminating open defecation by 2019, Government of India would have to work at a frenzied pace to construct 81 toilets per minute!

Augsburg and Rodriguez-Lesmes, 2015 have tried to find an answer as to what drives the uptake of sanitation. For this, data was collected form urban slums in the city of Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh and from rural population from Thiruvarur district in Tamil Nadu.

It was found that households, which are richer, with higher education and of higher castes are more likely to own a toilet. Similarly, households with savings and greater credit access are more likely to make sanitation investments.

Figure displays percentage of households owning toilet in 2 survey rounds by income quartile. In the first round of data collection, we can observe clear increase in ownership with increase in income, while in the second round shift can be seen happening with poorer households increasing relative likelihood of owning a toilet. This shift can be attributed to improved credit access.

However, this statement is not completely true because study conducted by Guiteras et al. (2015), and also Augsburg and Rodriguez-Lesmes, 2015b showed low achievements by government subsidies.

Demand creation through health messaging is not generating desired results. However, analysis suggests that messaging around status and social mobility might resonate better with poor populations.

Haryana, government campaign such as “No toilet, No bride” led to greater male investments in toilet may be result of strong sanitation preference of females. Here, it was also established that households with male children close in age to entering marriage market are more likely to acquire toilets.

When the rate of toilet adoption was plotted against different age groups males and females, it was found that adoption rate was relatively constant for households with girls in marriageable age but significant increase can be seen in households with boys of marriageable age.

1. Guiteras, R, J Levinsohn and M Mobarak (2015), ‘Encouraging household investment in sanitation’, Ideas for India, 13 May 2015. http://www.ideasforindia.in/topics/human- development/encouraging-household-investment-in-sanitation.html

2. Augsburg, B and P Rodriguez-Lesmes (2015a), ‘Sanitation dynamics: toilet acquisition and its economic and social implications’, Institute for Fiscal Studies Working Paper Series, No. W15/15. https://www.ifs.org.uk/uploads/publications/wps/WP201515.pdf

3. Augsburg, B and P Rodriguez-Lesmes (2015b), ‘Financing household sanitation through microfinance – impacts and challenges’, Unpublished Working Paper. https://www.ifs.org.uk/uploads/publications/wps/WP201515.pdf

4. Augsburg, B and P Rodriguez-Lesmes (2015), ‘No toilet, no bride: Toilet ownership and marriage prospects of men in India’. http://www.ideasforindia.in/topics/human- development/no-toilet-no-bride-toilet-ownership-and-marriage-prospects-of-men-in- india.html

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