New Delhi: There is "no resentment" among bureaucrats and politicians on the issue of sanitation despite 60 per cent of women in India defecating in open, Union minister Jairam Ramesh today rued.
"When I was being introduced today it was said that I am the Rural Development Minister. Drinking Water and Sanitation Ministry was forgotten. It is often forgotten. This reflects our mindset. We accept Rural Development, but often don`t see separately the issue of Drinking Water and Sanitation," he said at a function here.
Addressing the launch of Convergence Projects of National Mission for Empowerment of Women, he said the menace of open defecation "does not anger us, we don`t feel ashamed, there is no resentment among us that 60 per cent of women in our country are forced to go in open toilets."
He termed it as "a blot on our society" and "there is no country in the world, which has such a practice."
"Whether you strengthen the Panchayati Raj system or form self help groups for the women, but till the time toilets are not made available to 60 per cent of the women in our country, women will not be empowered," Ramesh said at the function chaired by Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath and also attended by Tribal Affairs Minister Kishore Chandra Deo.
"So to make toilets and bring a change in the behaviour, only construction of toilets will not be enough, we need to ensure a change in behaviour and mindset. Till the time we don`t do this, we will not be able to fulfil our duties for empowerment," the minister told the tightly packed women audience.