Rural development minister Jairam Ramesh today described India as the “dirtiest and filthiest” country in the world where people with mobile phones go out to answer the “call of nature”.
“In one area in which India can claim success in the social sector is education. We can’t say the same thing in health, we can’t say the same thing in nutrition, we certainly can’t say the same thing in sanitation because we do remain the dirtiest and filthiest country,” he said.
He said around 65 per cent of rural houses had been provided with toilets but didn’t use them. “Today, if you go to many parts of India, you have women with a mobile phone going out to answer the call of nature. I mean it is paradoxical,” the minister, who also holds charge of sanitation, said at an event here.
I do not know why Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh used such harsh words to make a point. A healthy topic of sanitation is now going to be lost amidst the din of controversial remarks. Why do responsible persons use extreme superlatives, when soft-spoken words can accomplish better results? And why single out women? These remarks are insensitive, brash, and regrettable.