Vidya Balan
Actress and sanitation campaign brand ambassador Vidya BalanReuters

Actress Vidya Balan on Thursday became the brand ambassador of sanitation campaign of the government of India and she would promote the construction and use of toilet in the country.

She 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, said a release by the ministry.

Speaking to reporters after meeting the actress, Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said, "The key areas of intervention on sanitation that may be focused upon are- propagating construction and use of toilets by all, habits of hand washing, personal hygiene and managing waste."

Vidya would appear in ad campaigns to propagate construction and use of toilets, said the minister.

Talking to reporters, the actress said that it was a matter of great honour for her to become the brand ambassador of sanitation campaign.

The 34-year-old actress, who won the national award for the best actress recently, 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.

Vice-President of India Hamid Ansari presented the best actor award to Vidya at the 59th National Film Awards function held in New Delhi on Thursday.

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.

It may be recalled that India loses $54 billion (about Rs. 24,000 crore) a year due to poor sanitation and hygiene.