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Swachh China now! Xi follows Modi, orders a 'toilet revolution' in villagesQ

Publication: The Economic Times
Date: November 29, 2017
URL:      https://m.economictimes.com/news/international/world-news/swachh-china-now-xi-follows-modi-orders-a-toilet-revolution-in-villages/articleshow/61847888.cms

In a move that resembles Modi's Swachh Bharat campaign, Xi has called for improving toilets across China, especially in rural areas.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has taken a leaf out of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's book. In a move that resembles Modi's Swachh Bharat campaign, Xi has called for improving toilets across China, especially in rural areas. He first launched the “toilet revolution” in 2015 to build better toilets at tourist sites. Now Xi wants the "revolution" to reach rural areas.

“The toilet issue is no small thing, it’s an important aspect of building civilised cities and countryside,” Xi has said, according to Chinese news agency Xinhua. “This work must be a concrete part of advancing our country’s revitalisation strategy and we must make great efforts to fill these shortcomings that affect the quality of life of the masses.”

Modi has made a mission out of constructing toilets in rural areas. He had even said toilets came before temples.

While visiting rural areas, Xi used to ask local residents about the conditions of the toilets they use, and stressed many times that clean toilets for rural residents are important for the building of a "new countryside", a Xinhua report said.

In rural areas, some toilets were little more than makeshift shelters surrounded by bunches of cornstalks, and some were open pits next to pigsties, according to the report. At tourist sites, visitors were angered by insufficient toilets, unhygienic conditions and lack of sanitation workers.

By the end of October this year, China had constructed or upgraded 68,000 toilets at tourist destinations, 19.3 percent more than the target.

Xi's toilet revolution that started at tourist spots is now spreading in rural areas. China National Tourism Administration plans to construct or upgrade another 64,000 toilets at tourist destinations from 2018 to 2020, according to the Xinhua report.

Modi launched India’s biggest cleanliness movement, Swachh Bharat Mission, in 2014. From giving states money to build toilets to incentives to private players to process municipal waste and make compost or generate electricity, the mission was planned as a programme to clean cities and villages and obliterate open defecation.

The Modi government set an ambitious target of building 65.82 lakh individual household toilets and five lakh community and public toilet seats till 2019. About 38.51 lakh individual and 2.2 lakh community toilets have been built. Many states have even surpassed the targets they had set for themselves.
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