UPSC Critical Reading

Open defecation is disastrous when practised in very densely populated areas, where it is impossible to keep away human faeces from crops, wells, food and children's hands. Groundwater is also contaminated by open defecation. Many ingested germs and worms spread diseases. They prevent the body from absorbing calories and nutrients. Nearly one-half of India's children remain malnourished. Lakhs of them die from preventable conditions. Diarrhoea leaves Indian's bodies smaller on average than those of people in some poorer countries where people eat fewer calories. Underweight mothers produce stunted babies prone to sickness who may fail to develop their full cognitive potential. The germs released into environment harm rich and poor alike, even those who use latrines.

Which among the following is the most critical inference that can be made from the above passage?

  1. Open defecation reduces the human capital of India's workforce
  2. Open defecation is the most important public health problem of India
  3. The Central and State governments in India do not have enough resources to afford a latrine for each household
  4. Open defecation is a public health problem in all developing countries


The correct option is A.