Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, on June 25 vigorously pushed the agenda of sanitation and said “toilet should be a constitutional right” for every woman. Ramesh criticised the concept of open defecation.

The minister added, “Toilet is a fundamental right for every woman….for her privacy, her dignity…every school must have a toilet, every Anganwadi must have a toilet, every home must have a toilet.” Ramesh while talking to the reporters said that they will not be giving money under Awas Yojana unless the toilets are built.

Jairam spoke after he reviewed Kerala’s progress in sanitation with the state ministers and officials. The minister even called open defecation as ‘Indian characteristic’ and even said that there is no change in this attitude whether it is a progressive state or BIMRAU (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh).

Open defecation is still prevalent in the states of Arnataka, Tamil Nadu, and all over . Jairan said, “It is always like that open defecation is my birth right….I am entitled to it. You have to change the midset”. The minister also noted that the country accounts for almost 60 percent of open defecations in the world. Jairam requested the political class to include sanitation in their agenda.