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...For the first 11 years of her life, Avantikapa, now 12, grew up without a toilet in her house in West Bengal’s East Midnapur district. As she approached adolescence and felt increasingly uncomfortable with the multiple risks of open defecation and the sheer embarrassment of it, Avantikapa spoke to her parents and got them to build a toilet at home. “I don’t have to worry about dogs, I don’t have to go under the cover of night,” she says happily. In East Sikkim, a co-education school has seen attendance of girl students improve after toilets were built inside the school. “Earlier, they would go in the bushes. Many students fell ill with diarrhoea, and it became harder to find places to defecate. Now many girls who dropped out of school have come back for further studies,” says school principal Aarti Gautum. These are two heartening stories of the success of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Mission. But anecdotal evidence is an imperfect method of impact assessment. ...Indian Express on Sept. 28, 2017, 1:05 a.m.