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Women in the village of Gadoj, whose lives have improved with the recent arrival of indoor toilets under Modi's $14 billion campaign. (Photo by Kosaku Mimura)
The Big Story

World's biggest toilet-building project empowers India's women

Modi's plan to build 100 million toilets is lauded, but critics question data

KIRAN SHARMA, Nikkei staff writer | India

NEW DELHI/GADOJ, India -- Sharmila, a 40-year-old mother of four, waited most of her life to achieve her dream of having a toilet inside her house. Until a little over a year ago, she and her two daughters, who live in the village of Gadoj in India's northwest, had no option but to take a lengthy walk to a field to answer nature's call. These trips often were made either before sunrise or after sunset in order to have a modicum of privacy.

"Life was one big struggle,'' said Manisha, Sharmila's 20-year-old daughter. "We used to go out in the dark [in groups] and look for a place to go where no one could see us in that position. It's a sea change now."

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