Tag Archives: Jairam Ramesh

India’s “sanitation crusader” Minister Jairam Ramesh stripped of post

Minister Jairam Ramesh and Bollywood actress and sanitation ambassador Vidya Balan at the launch of the Nirmal Bharat Yatra sanitation campaign. Photo: UNI

In a cabinet reshuffle Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has been stripped of his additional post as Minister of State for Drinking Water and Sanitation [1]. His successor is Bharatsin Madhavsinh Solanki, a former railway minister and a Member of Parliament representing Gujarat’s Anand district.

News agency PTI reported that sources in Ramesh’s office were disappointed that their Minister was being replaced [2].

The Minister has been passionate about sanitation-related issues which he brought it in the limelight, they said, adding that Ramesh also managed to get additional funds to carry out the projects.

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India’s sanitation emergency – Al Jazeera

New Delhi promised to build hundreds of public toilets for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Only 9 were built, and none of them are functioning. This short report from Al Jazeera’s Sohail Rahman highlights the fact that over 50 per cent of Indians have no access to clean toilets. It focuses on the lack of facilities in India’s growing cities and in schools. The report features rural development minister Jairam Ramesh, the inevitable Bindeshwar Pathak of Sulabh International and UNICEF India’s Suzanne Coates.

India: minister invites Gates Foundation to help find solutions to sanitation problems

The Ministry of Rural Development has invited the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to partner with it in finding solutions to the sanitation problems in India, where 50 per cent of the country’s 1.1 billion people still practice open defecation.

Jairam Ramesh and Bill Gates, 30 May 2012. Photo: PTI

On the 2nd day of his visit to India, Bill Gates spoke with Rural Development Minister and the Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation Jairam Ramesh. The Minister called for the launch of a global joint initiative to develop low-cost, clean toilets for railways. In India, 11 million passengers commute daily without proper hygienic facilities. Mr. Ramesh also sought help from Gates to pilot sanitation promotion campaigns along the lines of India’s successful Pulse Polio campaign [1].

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Bollywood actress becomes India’s sanitation brand ambassador

Vidya Balan, who received the Best Actress National Film Award for her role in 2011 Bollywood hit ‘The Dirty Picture’, will now play a role to alter the real dirty picture in India. Union Minister of Rural Development Jairam Ramesh has named the Bollywood actress as the brand ambassador in his campaign for improving sanitation [1].

According to India’s 2011 census, nearly half of population have no toilet at home, but more people own a mobile phone [2]. There are 2.1 million toilets in India which rely on manual scavengers to empty them [1].

The Minister hopes that Balan can help turn his campaign to end open defecation into a national obsession:

“it is going to be a very serious commitment on her part – she’s had a dirty picture in reel life, but this will be a clean picture in real life”. [1]

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“Sanitation is a single most important need in India today”, says new minister

Jairam Ramesh. India's new sanitation crusader?

India’s new rural development minister Jairam Ramesh has also taken charge of the newly-created Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. Will the former environmental crusader transform into a sanitation crusader? The first signals are encouraging.

In a cabinet reshuffle the new ministry position was first assigned to Gurudas Kamat who refused to take up the post for “personal reasons” though many commentators believe he was unhappy at being offered such a low-profile portfolio. The new water and sanitation ministry was formerly a department of the Ministry of Rural Development. It provides financial assistance to states and monitors progress but does not have the mandate for actual implementation on the ground.

In his first days in office, Ramesh has made clear he wants to give sanitation the same high profile he achieved for the environment during his two-year stint as minister when he habitually hogged the headlines.

“Sanitation is a single most important need in India today. If you look at the filth, if you look at the hygiene in our country, sanitation programme is the most important programme. It is severely under-funded,” Ramesh told PTI.

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