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A concrete plan for Modi to curb rape: implement the 'toilets over temples' promise

Building more toilets won't end sexual assaults. But it will make millions of people thankful.

The usually Twitter-happy Prime Minister Narendra Modi has thus far maintained a stoic silence on the rape crisis in Uttar Pradesh, but Maneka Gandhi, his Minister for Women and Child Development, has not. On Monday, Gandhi said she would not visit Badaun, the district in which two girls were gang-raped and murdered last week, because she preferred to work towards a concrete plan to improve the situation instead of going to look at a tree. "When I look at photos of politicians under the tree, I cringe with embarrassment," she said.

Here's one way the PM and Maneka Gandhi can save themselves from further embarrassment. There might be more complex issues underlying rape, such as power, identity and an appetite for violence. But there is also the concrete problem that made the gang rapes of Badaun possible: the lack of toilets.

Here's a gentle nudge towards a concrete plan for the PM: the NGO Sulabh has already promised a toilet in every home in Katara, the village where the girls were hanged from a tree. Fund more toilets. It won't end sexual violence, but according to a 2011 survey, more than 814 million people will immediately be thankful for it.

It is surprising that the Centre is taking so long to swing this plan into action, since Modi promised not too long ago that it was going to be "toilets over temples" in his tenure, and since Sulabh has already made 54 million toilets for the  government in the past.

What's more, Sulabh toilets can cost as little as Rs 800 to construct. They are made with locally available materials, and their designs are adaptable to different kinds of homes and soil conditions. They curb mosquito breeding (bonus points for the government! ) and require approximately two litres of water as compared to the septic tank system's 14. Finally, Sulabh toilets do not require manual scavenging but can be cleaned by individual homeowners.

Next week: streetlights.

 
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Five foods that could be included in your balanced breakfast today

It has become a cliché to say that ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’, but like all clichés there is a ring of truth to it.

Starting the day with breakfast is a simple way to make a difference to the overall well-being of an individual. In spite of the several benefits of breakfast consumption, the phenomenon of skipping breakfast is widely prevalent, especially in an urban set-up where mornings are really rushed.

The ‘India Breakfast Habits Study’ has revealed that one in four urban Indians claim to skip breakfast and about 72% skimp by having a nutritionally inadequate breakfast. Isn’t it alarming? Over the years, numerous studies have demonstrated that eating breakfast has several health benefits and can impact future health of an individual. But given today’s fast-paced life, Indians are increasingly undermining the importance of a well-balanced breakfast.

So what makes for a balanced breakfast? A balanced breakfast should consist of foods from at least three essential food groups, e.g one serve of whole grains, one serve of dairy (milk or curd) or lean proteins and one serve of fruit or vegetables. It should provide essential nutrients like protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals besides energy.

Here are some nutrient-rich foods you could incorporate as part of your balanced breakfast:

1. Oats. Oats are cereal grains that are high in protein and are a great source of fibre, especially soluble fibre. Oats contain beta glucan, a soluble fibre which has cholesterol lowering effects and therefore considered heart healthy. It also provides some minerals like iron, magnesium and zinc.

2. Barley. Barley is one of the first cultivated grains in the world, dating back nearly 13,000 years. It has the distinction of having the highest amount of dietary fibre among the cereals. Barley is chewy with a distinct nutty flavor, and is a good source of B-complex vitamins like vitamin B1, B3, B6 and biotin as well as minerals like phosphorus and manganese. Barley is also low in fat, and scientific research has shown that consumption of barley can help in lowering blood cholesterol levels.

3. Wheat. Like barley, wheat too is among the world’s oldest cultivated grains, and a source of vegetable protein. Its easy availability makes it a vital ingredient in many dishes. Whole wheat is a good source of protein and is stocked with vitamin B1, B3 and B6 making it a healthy addition to one’s diet.

4. Dried fruits. Dried fruit is fruit that has had almost all of the water content removed through drying methods. The fruit shrinks during this process, leaving a small, energy-dense dried fruit. Dried fruits are a good source of micronutrients and antioxidants (phenols) in general. Raisins, for example, contain iron and magnesium that are essential for normal functioning of the body.

5. Nuts. Nuts provide healthy fats, protein and fibre. They also provide vitamins and minerals and are a versatile food that can be incorporated in various recipes. Different nuts are rich in different nutrients. Almonds, for example, provide fibre, calcium and vitamin E.

Kellogg’s Muesli with nutritious grains including wheat, barley and oats and delicious inclusions such as almonds and dried fruits (grains and inclusions differ for different variants) along with milk or curd can be a tasty, nourishing breakfast and a great way to start your day. To explore delicious variants, click here.

This article was produced on behalf of Kellogg’s Muesli by the Scroll.in marketing team and not by the Scroll.in editorial staff.

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