Jaipur: India can replicate Singapore's success story with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Clean India campaign as it will help its people and the country to be more productive, according to noted sanitation activist Jack Sim.
Sim is the founder of the World Toilet Organisation which promotes sanitation, especially setting up of toilet facilities, in developing nations.
"The campaign launched by Prime Minister Modi is similar to a programme launched in Singapore after its independence when we had poor sanitation and other conditions but it made Singapore a productive country and this story can be replicated in India by this campaign," Sim, a Singaporean businessman who is also also called 'Mr Toilet' for taking up the cause, told reporters here.
"Sanitation and good hygiene make people healthy and productive and such programmes instill a sense of responsibility in individuals to keep the nation clean," he said.
Sim, who was in the city to sign an MoU with an organisation for sanitation, said that behavioural change was needed to toilets "a good place or a room that creates happiness".
The World Toilet Organisation, WASTE and FINISH Society signed the MoU to strengthen and promote initiatives for sanitation and waste management in the country.
Vijay Athreye, co-founder, FINISH society, said that the organisation was already working in southern parts of Rajasthan for awareness among people on sanitation and trying to make villages open defecation free.
He claimed that the society has already created 20,000 toilets in districts of Rajasthan like Dungarpur, Banswara and other tribal areas and was also encouraging people to make and use toilets instead of going for open defecation.
Athreye said that the three organisations will work together for sanitation and waste management in the country under the MoU.
According to the UN, economic losses estimated at USD 260 billion annually are suffered by developing countries due to lack of proper sanitation and water availability.
India has the highest number of people practising open defecation in the world at 597 million.
The UN has noted Modi's pledge to have 111 million toilets and achieve an end to open defecation by 2019, saying it is an "ambition" channeling the view of Mahatma Gandhi, who had termed sanitation "more important than independence.
In 1965, less than half of Singapore's population had access to proper sanitation. By 1997, Singapore was fully served by modern sanitation.