The process of rubbish collection and disposal does not seem to work either. It is strewn everywhere, harbouring disease, supporting wild animals - rats, dogs, birds and even pigs, and the stench makes me wretch. However, there is something of a process, if a little slow. Female ‘untouchables’ sweep it in to small piles on the street. Male ‘untouchables’ scoop it in to bigger piles and sift it for recyclable material. A cart, or even a small truck comes along and carries away the remainder, eventually. What’s left on the ground looks and smells like an accident of humanity. Then the population, all of them as far as I can see, drops more litter. It is not an accidental drop, it seems quite deliberate. I have wondered if they think they are helping the untouchables by giving them a job to do. In defence of their behaviour, there are almost no bins for collecting rubbish. 

I have had a new business idea, manufacturing rubbish bins here. Demand is through the roof; supply is less than minimal. What do you think? Could I clean up, or is it a rubbish idea?

My biggest customer would be the government, but they have too many other problems to solve. Resources are clearly being directed to the problem of poverty, and indeed progress is being made. India’s growth rate is helping, the recent addition of 18% sales tax (GST) helps too, as did the stifling of the cash economy by the implementation of some sweeping reforms. Prime Minister Modi is popular with almost everybody I have spoken to, but many recognise there is much more work to do.

That might be the biggest understatement in India.

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