Noted Bollywood actor Vidya Balan was roped in by the Ministry of Rural Development and the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation as brand ambassador to spread awareness about sanitation and cleanliness in the country. Talking to the media after meeting Balan here, Union Rural Development Minister Shri Jairam Ramesh said she will appear in ad campaigns to propagate construction and use of toilets. The Minister informed that Balan is the first brand ambassador of the Ministry. According to UNICEF-WHO Joint Monitoring Programme Report 2010, nearly 60 per cent of India's 1.1 billion people still practice open defecation and close to 58% of all open defecations in the World is in India. Shri Ramesh said that Vidya’s involvement will make the campaign to end open defecation a national obsession. The key areas of intervention on sanitation that may be focused upon are- propogating construction and use of toilets by all, habits of hand washing, personal hygiene and managing waste.
Talking to reporters, Vidya Balan said that this role will work a lot because they are working on a national movement. She said that it is a matter of great honour for her to become the brand ambassador of sanitation campaign and added that it needs to become a national obsession. She has agreed to give her time for the campaign for two years and will be fully involved in the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan--the restructured version of the Total Sanitation Campaign. It may be recalled that India loses 54 billion US dollars that is about 24,000 crore rupees a year due to poor sanitation and hygiene.