Rural development Minister Jairam Ramesh has criticized the administrative machinery for implementing the scheme half-heartedly. He called upon the bureaucracy to be more sensitive when dealing with the gender sensitive matters like constructing low cost toilet blocks in villages as it is directly related to the empowerment of the women.
Ramesh who was speaking at a two-day National Consultation on Gender Empowerment, said that as per Census 2011, 60 percent of village households did not have access to proper toilets and urged the need for greater "gender sensitivity" in implementing the total sanitation campaign to end defecation in the open.
Ramesh said that gender empowerment was a built in component in most top programmes of his ministry.
Rural roads have improved mobility of women, increased continuation of schooling by adolescent girls who now cycle on better-paved roads and made delivery of health services more efficient, he added.
He appreciated the success of the scheme in Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh. In Maharashtra, around 35 percent of villages had also become free from open defecation, he added.
(With inputs from IANS)