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More mobile phones than lavatories in Indian homes4th of April 2012
More Indians have access to a mobile telephone than a lavatory, according to the country's latest census. The 2011 study revealed that 115 million homes in India have a toilet -16 million fewer than the 131 million homes with access to a mobile phone.
The number of Indian families without access to any lavatory and forced to use open ground instead increased from 122 million in 2001 to 130 million last year - almost half of the country's 1.2 billion population.
Out of the 115 million Indian homes with a toilet, only 89 million of these facilities were actually inside the house. And just 11 per cent were connected to a piped sewer system.
According to sociologist Professor Vinita Bhatia of Xaviers College, Mumbai, the government is partly to blame for the fact that his people put material priorities over basic needs.
"The data validates the perception that Indian society has become more consumerist after liberalisation of the Indian economy," he said. If Indians are not spending on fulfilling their basic amenities, it is a joint failure of the government and society."
Bhatia added that the poorer people in India expect the government to provide basic services such as clean water and electricity. "Many are simply prepared to sacrifice basic amenities for something that gives them an upper edge in consumerist society," he added.