Swachh Bharat Abhiyan-A Step Toward Cleanliness

A Change in Nation, A Change in Heart

Mahatma Gandhi had two objectives: “Quit India and Clean India” First one he accomplished with the great support of all countrymen, but second one remained unfulfilled. He said, “Sanitation is more important than independence.” His dream was total sanitation for all. And His Dream is the cornerstone of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

The Objective of this campaign is to “Clean India” by 2nd October, 2019, 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.

Launch of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan-2nd October, 2014

The spirit of Swachh Bharat was high in the air of Delhi, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was welcomed by five thousand children, enthusiastically cheering and waving flags in support of cleanliness drive. And there at Rajghat, Delhi Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was Officially Launched.

The PM paid homage to two great sons of Mother India, Mahatma Gandhi and former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, on their birth anniversary, both of them had accomplished there missions of “Quit India” and “Jay Jawan, Jay Kisaan” respectively.

Mr. Modi congratulated the winners of the crowdsourcing contests for logo and tagline of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Mr. Amir Khan also joined him on the stage. Later on PM, along with Amir Khan and two other Union Ministers Venkaiah Naidu and Nitin Gadkari took the Swachhta Shapath (Cleanliness Oath).

Later on that day he went to Valmiki Basti (whrere Ghandhiji once stayed and now sanitation workers live) and Madir Marg Police Station where he picked up a broom and swept pavement area in Valmiki basti and a parking area at Mandir Marg Police Station.

Highlights of Mr. PM's Speech

125 Crore

He appreciated all the work done by the Former Governments, Social and Religious and Cultural Organizations toward cleanliness. He emphasized that the work of cleaning India is only government's or social workers'job. It cannot be done by one person, it has to be done by 125 crore people-sons and daughters of India.

Chain of 9

The PM Narendra Modi initiated a chain for cleanliness in which he nominated 9 people to come to public place and work for cleanliness. Then these 9 people will invite other 9 people, and so on. He urged people to upload their and others'videos of cleanliness and carry on this Chain of 9. He invited these 9 people to join him: Mridula Sinha, Sachin Tendulkar, Baba Ramdev, Shashi Tharoor, Kamal Hasan, Salman Khan, Priyanka Chopra and the team of Tarak Mehta Ka Oolta Chashma.

WHO's Statement

According to WHO's report due to diseases created by lack of cleanliness every Indian loses additional 6500 rupees.

And if we take out affluent households then burden on poor people go up by 12 − 15000. Cleanliness will save poor people from diseases and unemployment. Serving Mother India is Serving India.

Building Toilets

The Secret of Cleanliness is the discipline of citizens. In villages more than sixty percent people are still going in open which is painful. Many schools don't have separate toilets for the girls. Corporate Social Responsibility People should prioritize it. At least this much should be done for the dignity for our mothers and sisters.

Swachh Bharat Run

On 4th October, 2014, Saturday, India's President Mr. Pranab Mukharjee flagged off 1500 participants of Swachh Bharat Run. Officers, Staff of the Secretariat, President and their Body Guards, Delhi Police as well as their family participated in this Run. Even President joined them for a while.

Media's Role

Not only us but even Mr. PM was impressed with Media for their role in Swachh Bharat Campaign. He said, “You have turned your pen into a broom”

All News Channels and Journalists did a commendable job in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Mr. Modi asked people to upload photos and videos of cleaning and bring those people who are doing it. Media covered so many events, not only of celebrities, but of general people, too. Whether it was done by a school, a group of people or some really good role plays, street plays, drama, events, debates, all was covered by news channels and newspapers.

Electronic and social media played a constructive role in this whole campaign. Our Techno-Savvy PM was already promoting this drive through Twitter, Facebook, MyGov. In and other apps. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised to help the government create a “Swachh Bharat” or “Clean India” App. Even our own Web Developers have created so many useful apps each one with some variations is rocking on the smartphones.

After Mr. Modi achieved the post of CM, in the very first formal interaction he addressed a gathering of 400 journalists in “Dipawali Milan” at BJP headquarters along with BJP President Amit Shah, senior Cabinet ministers and party leaders. Journalists and reporters from all news channels and Newspapers were there. He emphasized that just the PM sweeping the broom won't do any good, everyone has to do that. It's their collective obligation. He dived into the crowd and indulged into light and informal talk with them.

Effects of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

Modi's efforts and Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has been appreciated at the UN, too as 2nd October is observed as the World Toilet Day around the world. The theme of this year's World Toilet Day is “Open Defecation and the Challenges for Women and Girls”

The campaign has already got overwhelming support from corporate houses as part of CSR as well as celebrities joining in to make it a mass movement.

Union Steel and Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has told heads of Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) that they must identify and construct 2500 toilet blocks under the government's Swachh Bharat Abhiyan by March 2015.

Out of planned 334 schools for toilet blocks, 135 schools have been identified and blocked on the website of Ministry of HRD, and the remaining are being identified.

The civic body of New Delhi had launched a cleanliness drive two months ago under the Centre's ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ and followed it up with an anti-spitting drive in Connaught Place, to clean up the streets and walls of the famed market in central Delhi. This cleanliness and anti-spitting drive of the New Delhi Municipal Council has failed to yield results, especially in Connaught Place which is covered with littered garbage and betel-nut.

Delhi University Students will study the “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” They will study the problem areas identified in Delhi, the changes (positive or negative) over the period of 5 years in those problem areas and the contribution of various stakeholders in the success of the campaign. After the completion of five years and culmination of the cleanliness campaign in 2019, they will prepare policy making documents and send them to Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) for their consideration".

  • According to CIPET-Swachh Bharat Mission-Report “November-2014”
  • Swachh Bharat Mission Activities were widely published in News Papers.
  • Cleanliness campaign held at various location of the country.
  • Awareness Rally organized at open Public places.
  • Posters on cleanliness were displayed in the Public Places.
  • Dust Bins and Cleaning Materials were distributed to the General Public during Cleanliness campaigns.
  • Students were encouraged through Prizes for the efforts made for Nukkad Drama.

Some Impactful Events already shaping up Before the “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan”

Rajasthan: Project ‘Maryada’

It has been reported that 60% of the population of the Rajasthan defecates in the open. In the southern part of the State mostly socio-economically backward classes of people and the tribes live. But, there are major changes taking place in south Rajasthan. Seven villages in the districts of Chittorgarh, Udaipur and Bhilwara have become open defecation free (ODF). These are Maton, Rela, Nevatalai, Chanawda, Dabok villages in Udaipur, Bansen village in Chittorgarh, and Parasrampura village in Bhilwara. 10, 000 poor households needed lot of counselling and pleading for the construction and use of toilets as they had the habit of relieving themselves in the open. For them it was difficult to save money required to build their individual toilets.

It was Hindustan Zinc of the Vedanta Group under the project ‘Maryada’ to take such initiative. Maryada was launched with an aim to make 80 villages of Rajasthan open defecation free. This was a part of the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan and now, with the launch of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Hindustan Zinc and the Rajasthan Government will continue to take forward this cleanliness drive by constructing all together 30, 000 toilets (10, 000 already completed) and make Rajasthan an open defecation free State by 2019. The project also aims at bringing behavioural changes among the people.

Churu district in Rajasthan

One of the most backward States in India in terms of open defecation, Rajasthan but Churu district is likely to become the first district in the State to get the defecation free status very soon. The 100% target of providing toilets in each household is not far. A campaign ‘Chokho Churu’ was initiated by the District administration where emphasis was on community mobilization. Public meetings, night village meetings or ratri chaupals and other awareness programmes were carried out. And due to these, most people's mindsets changed and they realized the various ill effects related to open defecation. As a result, people became more eager to construct toilets themselves, with the help of the Government.

11 villages in Koraput district in Odisha

Koraput in Odisha is one of the most-backward districts of India. However, 11 villages of Koraput and Semiliguda blocks in the Koraput district have become open defecation free villages as 522 households of these villages have started using pucca toilets constructed at their houses which are dominated by the tribal people. And, now there is strict prohibition on open defecation in the district. These ODF 11 villages are Chandrmundar, Gandhiput, Station Suku, Chakarliguda, Khaparaput, Haldiput, Maliguda of Koraput block and Doraguda, Jagamput, Bandguda, and Sadam of Semiliguda.

In the counter response to the negative response of the villagers to construct toilets, Government conducted a series of awareness campaigns in the form of street plays, posters and pictorial presentations by the district administration. These made the people conscious about the hazards of open defecation. It was the under the campaign Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan, construction of toilets was started with an estimated cost of Rs. 10, 000 each. It continued under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Rs. 4, 500 was provided through Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and Rs. 4, 600 by the District Water and Sanitation Mission (DWSM). Each individual household contributed Rs. 900.

According to a statement by an executive engineer of rural water supply and sanitation, Koraput, at least three villages each of 14 blocks in the district Koraput will become open defecation free by March 2015.

Himachal Pradesh will be first State to become ODF (Open Defection Free) by 2019

The Himachal Pradesh State Government is determined to obtain the target of 100% ODF tag before 2019. Under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Rs. 852.55 cr has been approved for revised projects, out of which, Rs. 48 crore has already been received. The construction of toilets started with the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan will continue with the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

According to a survey report, till early 2013, out of 14 lakh households in the State, around 12 lakh households have already the toilets facility. So covering the remaining 2.2 lakh toilets won't be difficult by 2019. Out of a total of 2.2 lakh individual toilets, 54, 000 toilets have already been constructed, and 1, 200 toilets are under near completion in the schools.

This is indeed a challenging task which involves the participation of the Government, NGOs, corporates or celebrities, and most importantly the general public as a whole.

Interesting Facts

Buildings around Rajpath Road-From Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate-in the Heart of the City, were sanitized and sealed from 1st October, 2014 Wednesday evening in preparation of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

Mr. Modi has ordered bureaucrats and ministers to be at work on 2nd October, leading their departments in cleaning their offices, including toilets.

Mr. Modi described this campaign as a holy mission, solely inspired by Patriotism and beyond politics.

This Campaign got the support from 71 years old Sanitation Pioneer, Mr. Bindeshwar Pathak, who has spent Four decades in providing sanitation. His Sulabh International has made 1.3 million toilets for households by employing cheap, two-pit technology.

More than 3 million government employees and school and college students took part in this.

Later on, Former PM Manmohan Singh stated that Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is the “Repackaged” version of “Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan” which was initiated by UPA Government when Mr. Singh was PM. Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan was merged with Swachh Bharat Abhiyan officially from the very beginning-planning stage of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

India's President Mr. Pranab Mukharjee asked every Indian to spend 100 hours annually in this drive.

Who picked up the BROOM for “A Step Toward Cleanliness”

  1. Amitabh Bachhan
  2. Sachin Tendulkar
  3. Nagarjuna
  4. Anil Ambani
  5. Hritik Roshan
  6. Javed Akhtar
  7. Salman Khan
  8. Neil Nitin Mukesh
  9. Arvind Kejriwal
  10. Kareena Kapoor
  11. Prasoon Joshi
  12. Kapil Sharma
  13. Madhur Bhandarkar
  14. Suresh Raina
  15. Shikhar Dhawan
  16. Vivek Oberoi
  17. Hema Malini
  18. Sania Mirza
  19. Mary Kom
  20. Tamanna Bhatia
  21. Juhi Chawla
  22. Raju Srivastav

On Ground-Core Level

The similar kind of drive was initiated by UPA government, too. But it was not that successful. But our New PM did everything in his power to make this Swachh Bharat Abhiyan a household name. It is really appreciative that Mr. Modi took some concrete steps for cleanliness of nation. But did it really make any difference?

People who work on ground level, who collect garbage from our houses and roads still faces the same situation every day. They are not provided with safety gloves or any other equipment which can safeguard them form fatal infections and bacteria. They sacrifice their time, energy and to a great extent their health too to do their job and keep our surroundings clean.

Moreover, they are prone to or rather imprisoned to social stigma. People put their hand on nose while walking past them. People are inspired by all celebrities who picked up broom for one day or a few hours but those same people outcast the real celebrities who do this job every day. Really, we do live in a dual-faced economy.

“Swachhta” is not essential only in our country, but in our countrymen's perception, too. If a child is brought up in an environment where cleaning and other chores are considered as low people's work then Modi or anyone else or any campaigns won't make any change. Perception is the core-real problem and not the unclean roads. And Behavioral Change is the key for Solution.

The way Charity Begins From Home, same way Cleaning Begins From Us. Not only in our home, neighborhood, roads but are thinking, too.

The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is just a great start. We have a long way journey to go. It requires support and commitment from all genres of people of India.

Author: Jinal Rohit