New Delhi: In view of low awareness in villages on use of toilets and safe handling of water, Centre has decided to launch a "National Rural Drinking Water and Sanitation Awareness Week" across all states next month.
Officials in the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation said the awareness week from March 16 to March 22, which is observed as World Water Day, would "accelerate awareness in villages" across the country on sanitation and rural drinking water.
"The focus of the campaign will be to "create total awareness on Swachh Bharat Mission to keep villages clean, build and use of toilets, importance of hand washing with soap, safe handling and storage of drinking water and water conservation," a Ministry official said.
In a letter to state chief secretaries, the Centre has said that to undertake this massive campaign, funds under Clean India Mission and National Rural Drinking Water Programme should be "effectively and aggressively" utilised.
States have been asked to conduct a week long 'state elocution contest' on subjects like use of toilet, clean India mission and water conservation with school children screened from rural schools after Gram Panchayat level, block level, district level competitions.
The Centre's move also comes in view of the fact that 60 per cent of people in rural areas still defecate in the open.
The goal of Swachh Bharat Mission in rural areas is to attain an open defecation free India by October 2, 2019-- the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.