India, or better we call it as Bharat is an ancient civilization. It is considered to be a pious nation, its people are very religious. India consists of people of various faiths; Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Shikhs, Parsis, Jains etc, and they follow their faiths very devotedly. But it is a sad reality of our country that all the cleanliness and piousness is only confined to religious activities or kitchen. We Indians are not concerned about the filth all around us; anywhere one looks, large mounds of dirt will be found.
It’s not in our behavior to keep our surrounding clean and sanitized. At the most we keep our own houses clean and it is of no concern of ours to be careful about streets, lanes, parks or other public places. Even after 71 years of Independence, it is really shameful that Indians are famous for their unhygienic behavior.
Whichever government comes into the power, one of its main priority is to make India clean. And for the same objective, the government had launched a scheme with the name ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’. The government had associated the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ with the ‘Father of the Nation’, Mahatma Gandhi, as he was a great supporter of the cleanliness cause in the country and throughout his life was involved in activities related to sanitation and hygiene.
What is Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
Swachh Bharat Campaign:
The Abhiyan was launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 2nd of October, 2014 at Rajghat, New Delhi with an aim to make India clean. Aim was to provide sanitation facilities to every family, including toilets, solid and liquid waste disposal systems, village cleanliness, and safe and adequate drinking water supply by 2nd October, 2019.
It will be a befitting tribute to the Father of the Nation on his 150th birth anniversary. It is significant that the PM himself is taking very proactive role in making the campaign a success; at Rajghat he started the campaign by cleaning the street by himself.
However, it has been clearly declared that the campaign is not only the duty of the government but each and every citizen of the country is equally responsible to keep the nation clean or swachh.
History of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
The campaign of clean India movement is the biggest step taken ever as a cleanliness drive till date. On the day of the launch of campaign around 3 million government employees including students from schools and colleges had participated in the event to make it popularize globally and make common public aware about it. This event was organized at Rashtrapati Bhawan on 2nd of October in 2014 in the presence of 1500 people. This event was flagged off by the Former President, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee.
Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, had nominated the name of nine famous personalities from business industries, sports and Bollywood to drive the clean India campaign. He also had requested from all the nine personalities to invite another nine personalities individually and requested them to continue the chain of nine people and take this campaign to every Indian living in any corner of the country.
Narendra Modi also said that this campaign should be taken as a big challenge and should pass the request to invite other nine people individually (just like branching of tree) so that this vision of cleanliness may be completed till 2019 and India can become a clean country forever in the history.
Cleanliness Drives in India and Neighboring Countries
By getting inspired from this Indian campaign, the Indo-Nepal Doctors Association has launched a campaign called ‘Swachh Bharat Nepal – Swasth Bharat Nepal Abhiyan’ on 3rd of January in 2015. It was started from the Indo-Nepal Border Region, Sunauli–Belihiya (near birth place of Lord Buddha, holy city of Lumbini, Nepal).
Other programme of the cleanliness in India such as Central Rural Sanitation Programme (CRSP) was started in 1986 all over the country which had focused to construct the individual sanitary latrines for the personal use of the people living below the poverty line. It had focused to convert the dry latrines to the low cost sanitary latrines, to construct latrines especially for rural women with other facilities of hand pump, bathing room, sanitation, washing hands, etc.
It was targeted that all the provided facilities should be properly maintained by the village Panchayats. Proper sanitation of the village such as drain systems, soakage pits, disposal of solid and liquid wastes, awareness of health education, awareness for social, personal, household and environmental sanitation etc.
Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) of cleanliness in India was started in 1999 by the Government of India in order to restructure the Rural Sanitation Programme. Nirmal Gram Puraskar was started in the month of June in 2003 as a sanitation programme to boost the Total Sanitation Campaign. It was an incentive scheme launched by the Government of India in 2003 to award people for total sanitation coverage, maintaining clean environment as well as making villages ‘Open Defecation-Free’ villages by the Panchayats, Blocks and Districts.
Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA) was started in 2012 and then Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014 on 2nd of October. However, all the sanitation and cleanliness programmes run by the Indian government earlier were not as effective as the current Swachh Bharat Abhiyan of 2014.
Gandhi Ji’s and His Role on Sanitation:
Mahatma Gandhi was a great supporter of cleanliness. He was very much concerned about the dirty roads, streets, temples and specially ‘Harijan Bastis’ of the country. Just after returning from South Africa he noticed very bad state of affairs in India regarding sanitation and cleanliness. He took upon himself to motivate and personally commit towards making the country filth free.
At the Inauguration of BHU:
As early as 4th February 1916, while addressing a gathering at the inauguration function of Banaras Hindu University, Gandhi Ji spoke about the importance of cleanliness and expressed his pain and anguish about the dirt and filth all around. He gave example of his visit to Vishwanath Temple and spoke about the dirty state of affairs in and around the temple. He said: “Is not this great temple a reflection of our own character?” Sharing his pain he questioned whether the temple would be dirt and filth free after the Britishers had left the country. Thus for him cleanliness was equally important as the freedom of the nation.
Gandhi Ji always had the view that everyone should first be the change he/she wishes to see in the world. Thus, whenever and wherever Gandhi Ji would get the opportunity, he himself would start cleaning the places. Also, as part of constructive programmes and visits all over the country, apart from preparing people for mass struggle against the Britishers, he also lectured them about the importance of cleanliness and proper sanitation.
At Gandhi Seva Ashram:
In D.G. Tendulkar’s ‘Mahatma’, Volume Three, there is a reference to Mahatma Gandhi leaving Patna in 1934, as part of his Harijan tour for Orissa. At Champapurhat, he found that there was a dispensary on the grounds of the Gandhi Seva Ashram, and he used that occasion to give a lecture on the need to rely not only on medicines for a cure, but to prevent diseases.
Gandhi Ji always emphasized the need to educate villagers on good hygiene and sanitation. According to him, the true function of the Ashram was to educate people how they could avoid disease. Gandhi Ji and his volunteers would conduct a mass contact programme with the villagers; they would talk about the necessity of sanitation, about keeping their places clean, and about personal hygiene.
Gandhi Ji’s Scavenging Work in Villages:
When the villagers near Gandhi’s ashram refused to cover excreta with soil believing it to be a bhangi’s work and sinful, Gandhi personally supervised the scavenging work in villages. To set an example, he, himself used to go to the villages with a bucket and a broom and would clean the places.
All scavenging work in Gandhi Ji’s ashram was done by its inmates. No dirt or filth could be found anywhere on the ashram ground. There were pits in which all rubbish was buried. In a separate manure pit, peelings from vegetables and left-over food were dumped. Waste water was used for gardening purposes.
Gandhi Ji regularly wrote about the importance of hygiene in his newspaper Harijan. Thus, the Father of our Nation fought not only against the bondages of the British rule but also against the bad practices of our people regarding sanitation and hygiene. Throughout his life he inspired and motivated people to maintain personal as well as public hygiene.
Therefore, it is a great gesture and an apt tribute to the Mahatma that the government has launched the ‘Swachh Bharat Campaign’ on his birth day i.e. on 2nd of October.
Objectives of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
The campaign of Swachh Bharat launched by the government of India is aimed to accomplish various goals and fulfill the vision and mission of “Clean India” by 2nd of October 2019 which is 150th birth anniversary of great Mahatma Gandhi. It has been expected that the investment to cost would be over 62000 crore of Indian rupee (means US$ of 9.7 billion). It has been declared by the government that this campaign is taken as “beyond politics” and “inspired by patriotism”. Following are the some important objectives of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan:
- To eradicate the system of open defecation in India.
- To convert the insanitary toilets into pour flush toilets.
- To remove the system of manual scavenging.
- To make people aware of healthy sanitation practices by bringing behavioral changes in people.
- To link people with the programmes of sanitation and public health in order to generate public awareness.
- To build up the urban local bodies strong in order to design, execute and operate all systems related to cleanliness.
- To completely start the scientific processing, disposals reuse and recycling the Municipal Solid Waste.
- To provide required environment for the private sectors to get participated in the Capital Expenditure for all the operations and maintenance costs related to the clean campaign.
Corporate India and Swachh Bharat Campaign
Heeding to the call of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Corporate India is also enthusiastically taking steps towards making the Abhiyan a success.
Public and Private companies are appending in cleanliness activities under their compulsory Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) schemes which is a statutory requirement as per Companies Act, 2013. CSR is a mechanism through which companies invest in activities beneficial to society as a whole.
Corporate Houses Supporting Swachh Bharat Campaign
Major corporate houses such as L&T, DLF, Vedanta, Bharti, TCS, Ambuja Cements, Toyota Kirloskar, Maruti, Tata Motors, Coca Cola, Dabur, Aditya Birla, Adani, Infosys, TVS and many others have earmarked budgets for Swachh Bharat projects. According to one estimate Rs 1000 Crore worth of various cleanliness projects are in the pipeline by corporate sector and out of which Rs. 500 crores have been already invested on the campaign in past few years. These projects include building toilets in distant villages, running workshops on behavioural changes, waste management, and water hygiene and sanitation activities among other things.
In a bid to invite corporate funds for Swachh Bharat campaign, the government had recently decided that corporate contributions towards this scheme will now be counted as CSR spend. And to make it clearer later, the Corporate Affairs Ministry also amended Schedule VII of Companies Act to specify that contributions to ‘Swachh Bharat Kosh’ would be an eligible CSR spends.
Therefore, not only government and private individuals but also the corporate sector is playing its role in making India totally clean.
How to get Involved in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is started to make India a clean India by the effort of all the citizens living in the country. It has been clearly declared by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi that anyone can actively participate in the event anytime. He just need to take snaps of the dirty places and also take snaps of the same places after cleaning them and upload both, before and after snaps on the social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, etc to familiarize and motivate other common people to do the same in order to fulfill the vision of clean India.
- Uploading Snaps on the Internet:
After such request by the Indian prime minister to the Indian public, it was started rapidly by the people of India. From the day of launching of event, people became very active and motivated, and started doing the same by taking both before and after snaps and uploaded it to the social media websites to globalize the campaign. It was also said by Narendra Modi that those who do this would really be appreciated for his/her involvement in the campaign by the government on the social media websites.
- Celebrities Involvement in the Initiative:
Many famous personalities of the bollywood, tollywood, politicians, sports, business industries, etc such as Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan, Sachin Tendulkar, Mridula Sinha Ji, Anil Ambani, Baba Ramdev, Shashi Tharoor, Kamal Haasan, Priyanka Chopra, M. Venkaiah Naidu, Amit Shah, Salman Khan, team of ‘Tarak Mehta Ka Oolta Chashma’ and many others participated in the campaign according to their own decided dates and uploaded their pictures on the internet via Facebook and Twitter.
- Participation of Schools and Colleges in the Campaign:
It was also followed by the students from schools, colleges, universities, and other educational institutions. Youths of the country involved in the daily routine jobs and other business activities also participated in the event and did the same. All the activities done by famous personalities, students and youths of the country supported and encouraged common public to get involved in the campaign very actively. We as an Indian citizen just need to pick up the broom in our hand and clean all the dirty places in our surroundings to make them clean and neat.
- Involvement of Developers and Media in the Campaign:
Most of the independent application developers have developed many mobile applications using mobile technologies to make this campaign a successful one. Electronic and print media is also boosting this campaign through their articles and news publications. Times of India newspaper has motivated people towards this campaign by publishing an article under the title ‘Desi companies beat Facebook in ‘Swachh’ apps race”. Another published article is under title “This Indian App Could Change How People Talk to Their Government”.
Nationwide Real Time Monitoring System
A ‘Nationwide Real Time Monitoring System’ has also been launched by the Government of India in order to construct toilets under this campaign aiming to attain 100% Open Defecation Free India by 2019. As of November 2018, around 88.32% villages were made Open Defecation Free and the work is still in progress.
A short film on the Swachh Bharat has been made by the NIT Rourkela PHD students to convey most important message of Swachh Bharat to people. We should participate in this mission by joining our hands together and taking this clean India initiative as an important part of our lives as the vision of clean India can only be achieved through the effort of each and every Indian citizen and not by the effort of government only.
A Movie supporting this Campaign
A movie named as ‘Toilet: Ek Prem Katha’ was released on 11 August 2017. This film was directed by Shree Narayan Singh and co-produced by Akshay Kumar and Neeraj Pandey. Lead roles were played by Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar. This movie supported the campaign of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan run by the Modi government in order to improve the sanitation conditions and promote the eradication of open defecation especially in the rural areas.
Cleanliness Initiative in UP under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan Campaign
The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, in March 2017 has banned chewing of paan, paan masala, gutka and other tobacco based products during duty hours in all the government offices across the state when he saw betel-juice stained walls and corners during his first visit to the secretariat annex building. This initiative was started by him to ensure cleanliness in the official buildings.
Celebrities involved in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
Anil Ambani, Chairman of Reliance Group
Aamir Khan, Actor
Amitabh Bachchan, Actor
Baba Ramdev, Spiritual leader
Chanda Kochhar, Managing director of ICICI Bank
Hrithik Roshan, Actor
Kamal Hassan, Actor
Kapil Sharma, Stand-up Comedian
Manisha Koirala, Actress
Mridula Sinha, Writer in Hindi Literature and Politician
Priyanka Chopra, Actress
Sachin Tendulkar, Former Indian cricketer
Saina Nehwal, Indian Badminton Player
Salman Khan, Actor
Shashi Tharoor, Politician
Team of Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah, TV Serial
Others celebrities involved in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan are Anupam Kher, Parineeti Chopra, Akshay Kumar, Alia Bhatt, Neha Dhupia, Ajay Devgan, Subash Ghai (filmmaker), Gagan Narang (Indian Shooter), Vijender Singh (Indian boxer), Manoj Tiwari, Mary Kom, Nagarjuna, Tamannaah Bhatia, Hema Malini, etc.
Facts and Figures about Swachh Bharat Mission
Following are few facts and figures (as of Nov. 2018) regarding the Swachh Bharat Mission:
- Around 89 million household toilets were built since 2nd October, 2014
- More than 5 lakh villages were made ODF i.e. Open Defecation Free, under the campaign.
- Additional 4465 villages were made ODF across Namami Gange Initiative
- 533 districts and 25 states were made ODF under the scheme.
- The ‘Household Toilet Coverage’ in India has increased to 96.55% till November 2018 from 38.70% in October, 2014.
- 745.04 lakhs people uploaded their photographs under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan since 02nd Oct, 2014.
‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ or ‘Clean India Mission’ is the best tribute that we can give to Mahatma Gandhi. The initiative has started showing its results in the past few years and a sense of responsibility has been evoked in the minds of the citizens. There is a huge participation in the campaign from all the corners of the nation. The drive has taken the face of a national movement and people are joining hands to clean their surroundings and environment.
The Clean India Mission is not only the responsibility of the government but it needs the unanimous support of its people to achieve its goal. If the same zeal and zest continues forever then the day is not very far when there will neither be a single heap of garbage nor a particle of dirt in our surrounding. And this will be the day when we can pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi in real means.
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