New Delhi: Accepting that development of sanitation facilities in the country has been a "disaster", Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh Wednesday suggested enhanced government funding to deal with the issue.
"Sanitation is the biggest blot on the human development portfolio in India. The sanitation situation is disastrous," said Ramesh speaking at the release of UN Human Development Report 2011 here.
"We need massive public funding for sanitation," he said adding there has been marked progress in providing education, and some improvement in making health care and drinking water available in the country.
Making a comparison, Ramesh said while expenditure on water supply was Rs.20,000 crore annually, it was just Rs.2,000 crore on sanitation.
Success in providing education came because of the centre, which bears around 60 percent of the total spending on the sector today, he said.
"Out of 6 lakh villages in the country, only 25,000 are free from the practice of open defecation," the minister said, adding "People do not use toilets due to cultural reasons in many parts of the country."
The focus of the rural development ministry has now shifted to building household toilets, Ramesh noted.