Fehlt Ihnen im Englischen häufiger das treffende Wort? Kommen Sie trotz guter Vorsätze nicht dazu, ein Magazin oder Buch im Original zu lesen? Dann finden Sie hier interessante und vielfältige Lektüre aus der Financial Times - mit einem Glossar, das Ihnen auf die Sprünge hilft.
If India's laws had been enforced, Parmeshwari would have lost her job years ago. The fact that she still plies her traditional trade in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh is not a triumph for labour rights but a danger to human health and evidence of brazen corruption on the part of local officials. Parmeshwari, a 60-year-old widow, is a so-called manual scavenger, one of hundreds of thousands of Indians whose low-caste occupation for generations has been to clean out villagers' primitive toilets by hand and brush, collect the fecal matter in baskets and handcarts and dump it away from the houses.
In theory, the profession ought to lie in India's poverty-stricken past. A 1993 law banned manual scavenging and since then hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on sanitation projects in Uttar Pradesh, whose population of more than 200m makes it larger than Brazil.
Yet, in dozens of crowded homes in Budaun's largely Muslim suburb of Navada, residents defecate on the cement floor of a fly-infested cubicle usually separated only by a curtain from the rest of the house. In exchange for a few rupees and food, Parmeshwari and fellow members of the Hindu Balmiki caste pass by each day to lift the metal flaps that give access to the stinking privies from the street outside, scoop up the waste and take it away.
"We ourselves have no toilets at all," says Parmeshwari, one of more than 600m Indians who lack even primitive toilet facilities and therefore practise what is known as open defecation.
But now, it seems, the Indian establishment is beginning to realise the awful price in deaths and disease that the country and its 1.2bn people have paid for failing to build modern lavatories and sewerage.
"India's sanitation challenge, especially in rural India, remains humungous," Jairam Ramesh, minister of rural development, said in September at an event to publicise the central government's latest hygiene drive. Some 400,000-500,000 children under five die each year from diarrhoea in India, "largely caused by unhygienic practices including improper disposal of human excreta", Mr Ramesh said. "Cleanliness is more important than godliness in this country."
Mr Ramesh said the sanitation budget had been nearly doubled to USD675m for the current financial year. The government has also drafted another law to abolish the job of manual scavenger, this time with the threat of one-year jail terms for anyone who employs one. The country's Supreme Court also ordered that all schools should be provided with basic toilet facilities within six months.
India, though, has grown wearily accustomed to the rhetoric of cleanliness without seeing much in the way of new toilets, with Uttar Pradesh being an egregious example of how states fail to deliver on official promises.
For the 10 years up to 2011, the Uttar Pradesh government dutifully reported steadily rising access to latrines in rural areas with the help of USD600m in public funds under the Total Sanitation Campaign. Coverage officially increased from 19.23 per cent of households in 2001 to 82.47 per cent a decade later. With Budaun having been in the past a centre for polio (India reported its last case of polio nearly two years ago), this looked like good news.
But the reality was very different: the 2011 national census showed 21.8 per cent of households had toilets - hardly any improvement at all. Over-reporting of success was rampant across India but in Uttar Pradesh it was extreme.
"Corruption is institutionalised," says one frustrated Indian aid worker in the state. "The moment they pass over the money, they count the job as done. So another 10-year programme has been lost. We found sanitation conditions are quite appalling."
It is not difficult to find evidence of corruption in Uttar Pradesh. Villagers entitled to food handouts, whether Muslims or low-caste Hindus, routinely complain that local officials sequester their ration cards for their own benefit and resell the food on the open market.
Shivpal Singh Yadav, the state's public works minister, was caught on camera in August telling local bureaucrats that it was all right to "steal a little" as long as they did not "behave like dacoits [bandits]". Uttar Pradesh state officials did not return calls when asked for comment on the missing toilet funds.
In at least one part of Uttar Pradesh, however, there are signs of progress. Less than two years ago, most homes in the farming village of Urulia, near Budaun, had unhygienic "dry" toilets serviced by manual scavengers. Today all have lavatories that are flushed with water and connected to underground septic tanks or "leach pits".
"Now diarrhoea is reduced, cholera is [under] control, and there are fewer flies," says Zakir Ali, an unemployed householder and member of the village's health and sanitation committee. "Before we had to depend on someone [to clean] and if they did not turn up for three days there would be a lot of maintenance."
"We're very happy, too," says one of Mr Ali's neighbours. "Before there were too many flies - and bad smells."
Twenty families of manual scavengers have lost their livelihoods and moved to town to find more conventional sweeping jobs.