New Delhi: Over two crore toilets will be built in select villages across the country under a programme of making India open defecation-free by 2019 which the government decided to link to MNREGA.
The government will also deploy specially-trained women workers to give basic lessons about the use of toilets in the villages.
The over 2 crore toilets will be constructed in select villages under MNREGA, a rural job scheme, said an official of the Rural Development ministry which is the nodal body for it.
The official said efforts will also be made to bring behavioural changes among the masses through women volunteers as part of the government's mission to achieve open defecation free status in the country in five years.
The 'Sanitary Mates'(SMs), to be selected from "literate and active" women MNREGA workers, will provide basic lessons about use of toilets to people living in villages.
The SMs shall be identified at an average of one per every habitation in the selected Gram Panchayats, the official said, adding it is aimed at bringing in popular participation besides the attitudinal changes.
"The SM shall be a woman MGNREGA worker who worked the highest number of days under the programme in the preceding year, provided she is literate and active," the official said.
The selected women Sanitary Mates will be trained in various methods of sanitation.
According to official, the Sanitary Mates will help in identification of households without toilets and work in conjunction with the Women Self Help Groups. They will coordinate with the MNREGA functionaries for sanction of the work.
They will help the selected households in engaging masons, and supervise construction as per the specifications.
Each SM will be considered as a semi-skilled worker and they will be paid for the days of work as any other mate in MNREGA.
The selection of Gram Panchayats will be made at the district level under the chairmanship of the district collector in consultation with the district authorities, Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) to avoid any overlap with works taken up under SBM (G).