Swachh Bharat Abhiyan- A means to achieve a cleaner India

November 3rd, 2014

  • Swachh Bharat or Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Campaign Clean India) is a campaign launched at the national level by the Government of India
    undertakes 4041 towns to clean the lanes, roads and infrastructure of the country.
  • Clean India campaign was declared by Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi on 15 Aug 2014, Indian Independence Day & launched on 2 Oct 2014, Gandhi Jayanti.
  • The campaign aims at cleaning the entire country and making India free of open- defecation by 2019.
  • India has a population of almost 1.2 billion people. 55% of this population (nearly 600 million people) does not have access to toilets. Most of these approximates have been made up by the people who live in urban slums and rural areas.
  • In addition to the poor health status, poor sanitary conditions set India back by billions of dollars annually. Diseases are costly to families, and to the economy, when it comes to productivity losses and expenditures on medicines and health care.


The Latest Developments in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan

  • The PM took a pledge for cleanliness at India Gate, which 30 lakh government employees across the country joined. He also flagged off a walkathon at Rajpath and amazed people by joining in not just for a few token steps, but marching with the participants till the residence of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, nearly 800 metres away.
  • In his address to the entire country, Mr Modi said the campaign was the best tribute to Mahatma Gandhi who “gave us the message ‘Quit India, Clean India’.”
  • Modi also invited nine people to join the cleanliness drive and pleaded each of them to draw nine more into the initiative to take it viral. These nine people were among the famous celebrities from the film fraternity.
  • October 2, Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, is a public holiday usually, but this year the Prime Minister ordered a complete working day for all the government employees.
  • In recent days, many renowned ministers like Ravi Shankar Prasad, Smriti Irani and Ram Vilas Paswan have been seen sweeping parts of their offices.
  • Mr. Modi has emphasized the importance of sanitation in almost all his public speeches since his May victory, vowing to make India clean by 2019, to coincide with the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.


Measures taken for a healthier Nation Building

  • Swachh Bharat Run -A ‘Swachh Bharat Run’ was held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, 2014. Approximately, 1500 people participated in the run and the event was flagged off by President Pranab Mukherjee.
  • Swachh Bharat App – Many app developers came up with several ideas to support the mission using mobile technologies.
  • Initiative by the HRD ministry – The Union HRD Minister Smt. Smriti Irani addressed the Conference on the use of Corporate Social Responsibility funds for constructing toilets in schools in New Delhi as part of the Swachh Bharat Swachh Vidyalaya Campaign.


Challenges in the path to clean India: Recommendations/Suggestions to overcome the problems

  • Sustained inclusion of multiple stakeholders: Although it was inspiring to see celebrities and Government officials cleaning the streets on Gandhi Jayanti, but at the same time it is necessary to make sure that the interest of all stakeholders (politicians, bureaucrats, NGOs, private enterprises, funders and communities) is maintained and they work towards this objective with great passion.
  • Focus on changing attitudes: This may be the biggest milestone for achieving the desired aim of a clean India. Many families are habitual of open defecation, because of which many toilets remain unused. Changing attitudes is going to be different from straightforward and this is where the involvement of community-based organizations and community leaders will be Important.
  • Going beyond toilet construction: Previous governments have also allocated a lot of money to sanitation through initiatives like Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan. It is highly important that the Government understands that only constructing more toilets will not be beneficial in itself. The toilets need to be used and for that quality of construction as well as operation and maintenance needs to be taken care of.
  • Going beyond fund allocation: The Swachh Bharat Kosh which has been established to attract money for the campaign from corporates and individuals is another good idea. However, the funds need to be spent properly. The challenge has always been spending money in the right way and that requires proper systems to be put in place.


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