Gehlot Defends Jairam's Toilet Remarks
Holding sanitation and hygiene as crucial components in ensuring a healthy lifestyle, especially in country's rural pockets, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot today backed Union Rural Development minister Jairam Ramesh, saying his 'toilet' remarks were taken out of context.

"What Ramesh said in connection with toilets was made controversial unnecessarily. His statements were presented in a wrong manner and the feelings behind the minister's view were for health and hygiene and we should understand its importance," Gehlot said.

The chief minister said the Union minister's comments should be taken in right context, and priority he gave to sanitation and cleanliness should be taken note of.

Ramesh's remarks last month that there are more temples than toilets in India had created a controversy.

Speaking at a state-level function to felicitate Panchayati Raj institutions, Gehlot spoke about hazards of open defection and underlined need for construction of toilets, particularly in rural areas.

"Sanitation and hygiene are very importance in human life but there is a need to create awareness for that among people. The God will also be happy when we care for sanitation and live with hygiene," he said.

He also highlighted vision behind the government's Nirmal Gram Yojana and stressed upon holding a conference on sanitation and hygiene in the state to create awareness.

"It is important to understand the importance of toilets. I wish to hold a national conference in Jaipur for this. People should also know about methods and practice to use toilets with least amount of water, and this can be done when we make collective efforts to spread awareness," he said.

On this occasion, Gehlot gave away the 'Nirmal Gram Puraskar' for sanitation to the sarpanches of 32 village panchayats.

He also handed awards under the 'Panchayat Empowerment and Accountability Incentive Scheme' to panchayati raj institutions.

The chief minister praised the village panahayats for diversifying their activities into new and unexplored areas.

Besides number of panahayati raj functionaries and UNICEF and World Bank representatives, state ministers Mahendrajeet Singh Malviya and Mangilal Garasia were also present on the occasion.

Later speaking at the foundation laying ceremony of Rajasthan Skill and Livelihood Development Corporation (RSLDC) building here, he said the state government will provide employments to state youths by imparting job-oriented skills through the corporation.

Gehlot said the state government has initiated several schemes for training and skill development of unemployed youths through RSLDC and officials as well as public representatives have been asked to create awareness among the needy about its plans and programmes.

The state government has already given jobs to more than one lakh candidates in different state departments and the procedure for recruitment against as many posts in going on, the chief minister said.
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