New Delhi: Union Minister Jairam Ramesh
on Wednesday blamed "horrible underfunding" for the abject state of
water supply and sanitation in India and termed it as a
"matter of shame".
"If you look at all the states, and the Centre... we are
horribly underfunding both water supply and sanitation. And it
is a matter of shame," the Rural Development Minister said
agreeing with the findings of a new World Bank report on
Gender Equality and Development released here.
He said the country accounts for 58 per cent of open
defecation in the world.
"If there is one issue that I would like to focus on
which will have a huge impact on women`s status on women`s
indicators.. It is water supply and sanitation," Ramesh said
after releasing the report.
Citing that women have a major role in the country`s
successful three-tier panchayati raj systems, the Minister
said that women in India are adequately represented in
domestic policy making.
"Roughly now... 1.5 million women elected
representatives...Almost 45 per cent of all elected
representatives in rural India are women. Women`s election is
an increasing phenomenon, women are re-elected," Ramesh said.
He said the growth of re-election of large constituency
of women representatives in rural India is a "great success
"...1.5 million (elected women representatives) really is
the largest in the world is a major development," the Minister
said questioning the report that claims that institutions and
policies in India are not adequately represented.