More Indian people have access to a mobile phone than a lavatory, according to the country's latest household census, which suggests the nation is more concerned with consumer goods than essential services.

The census covers the last decade in which India's economy has soared to become the second fastest growing in the world behind China with sharp increases noted in the number of people that own TVs, cars and mobile phones.

According to the findings, the number of homes with a toilet of any kind is 16 million fewer than the number of families that have a mobile phone.

India's registrar-general C. Chandramouli said there needs to be a change in the mindset of Indian people as traditional reasons and a lack of education seem to be the primary causes for this unhygienic practice.

Sociologist professor Vinita Bhatia of Xaviers College, Mumbai, added: "If Indians are not spending on fulfilling their basic amenities, it's a joint failure of the government and the society."

Posted by Simon Thomas

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