Mutts, corporates told to join hands for rural uplift

Govt sets target to make State free of open defecation by 2018

 Minister for Rural Development H K Patil on Friday called upon corporates, ashrams and mutts to join hands with the government to shape rural India.

He addressed a gathering at the Art of Living headquarters on Kanakapura Road during a discussion on 'India way forward', organised by the Sri Sri Rural Development Programme Trust (SSRDPT).

Patil said that cow dung pits pose biggest challenge to hygiene in villages. He rued that India had been successful in Mars mission, but was unable to rid the cow dung pits (dump yards), that are ubiquitous across the country.

He added that the State government has fixed a target to eradicate open defecation in rural areas by 2018.

Patil said, “When we came to power, there was a requirement for 56 lakh toilets. In terms of toilets at the household level, we were ranked 15th or 16th in the nation.

We took this project on a priority basis. We constructed 5.1 lakh toilets last year but this year we will build 10 lakh toilets.”Another area the State government intends to focus on is the toilet-cum-bathroom, said Patil adding that focus on toilets alone is flawed unless there are bathrooms.  “The biggest challenge faced by women in rural areas is that they lack space to take a bath. Keeping this in mind, we are coming up with a scheme this year to build at least 1.05 lakh toilets-cum-bathrooms in the rural areas of the State.”

Speaking on the occasion, Ravishankar said the Ashram had revived the Vedavathi river and now it had decided to take up rejuvenation of Kumudvati river as part of its rural mission.

Personality development
Emphasising on skill development, he said that skill development alone would be incomplete without humanity and personality development.

“There is no dearth of talent. What we lack, however, is the mechanism to develop skill. We need infrastructure in rural areas. As rural India is synonymous with agriculture, we at AOL are training villagers to do zero budget farming,” he said. In his speech Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Sudarshan Bhagat said the programmes of the AOL for rural development match those of the Union government’s mission.

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