Having kicked up a controversy by saying women in villages demand mobile phones and not toilets,Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh on Monday announced that his ministry has decided to use the network of 8.6 lakh women health workers employed by the Health Ministry to improve sanitation facilities.
Ramesh is a member of the Mission Steering Group (MSG),the highest decision making body of the National Rural Health Mission. While addressing a MSG meeting,he said that his ministry will pay Rs 75 to the Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) for every toilet she gets constructed in a village. We propose to extend this plan to anganwadi workers too. We will start with ASHAs in about a months time. The decision to use ASHAs for this is because I look at the sanitation issue as one of womens dignity and privacy so who better than women who are already there on the field to disseminate the message. If she gets 10 toilets constructed per month,she will get Rs 750, Ramesh said.