Environment · Governance · Public Policy · Strategy

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan : A Critical Evaluation

Shubham Jain mentions about the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, as launched by the Govt., along with elucidating the various case studies from nations as Singapore etc.

A clean India movement which is popularly known as ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ is one of the great initiative taken by Modi Government. The Government of India on 2nd October 2014 from Rajghat, New Delhi, on the 145th birth anniversary of the Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (Father of the Nation) started such great movement. The main aim of Government behind such step is to make India free from open defecation till 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. On the day of launching this movement the Prime Minister Narendra Modi states that the pursuit of cleanliness can be an economic activity, contributing to Gross Domestic Product growth, reduction in health care costs, and a source of employment.



If we analyse this great initiative of Government then we find out that after more than two years of launching, this movement is still in its infancy. But it is also fact that it got off the right start. It is true the result will not come immediately, but it is assurance if people’s support will not lose then it will definitely got success.

(A) The Case of Singapore

We have good example of Singapore. Lee Kuan Yew the first Prime Minister of Singapore had taken such initiative forty six years and one day before PM Modi launched this mission. Lee Kaun Yew launched first nationwide public education programme which popularly known as Singapore Clean Campaign. The target of Lee Kaun is to make Singapore the cleanest and greenest city within month region by free it from littering in public places. If we observe the situation then, we find out that the month is nothing, even a year or decades is less to make such programme cent percent success. In 2019, when target of Clean India Mission may fulfil, Singapore will complete its 50 years of “The Keep Singapore Clean Campaign”. But even today, after five decade of launching programme, if we talk about the completion of target then it is reality that still today Singapore is unable to meet its 100% target. There are many places which still deals with cigarette butts, used tissue, food and drink containers and assorted packaging etc. Instead of all this things the reality can’t be ignore, if Singapore is known for today this is for its beauty and clean environment and still the population of Singapore acknowledges Lee Kaun Yew for his excellent initiative. If we compare India from Singapore there is no comparison, even States of India is far greater than Singapore. The great movement by Modi Government may take time to fully succeed. Even it may be possible that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not be in position to see cent percent completion of the target or goal. But it will convert into reality, if people of the nation support and participate in this great movement. In that case, it is surety that one day India will also known for its cleanliness and will set an example in front of the world about its greenery and clean environment.

(B) The Case of Sikkim and Mysore

We have also a state like Sikkim which became the cleanest and is working towards becoming poverty free in four years.  At present, in India, there is no proper sanitation, defecation and hygienic facilities in villages. In such situation no residents of villages is ready to welcome you to click photos of their toilets, but Basilakha, a 120 families’ village in Sikkim is welcome you to show their toilets. This is not an exception in every village of Sikkim, a former monarchy annexed to India in 1975, people have a sense of pride that their state is India’s first and only open defecation-free state.

By the report of National Survey Report, a fact came into picture that cleanliness in the villages of Sikkim is not only due to toilets system alone. No one here uses plastics, no one smokes in public places, no one urinate in the open, and no one litters. There is penalty for every violation. Now we can analyse that if people once collectively make mind to make India free from dirt then it will be no longer for the villages of other states of India to see themself as villages of Sikkim.

If population and size of the place wise evaluation is done, then, according to Swachh Sarvekshan Ranking, Mysore is no. 1 city in Clean India Mission. About 64 out of 65 wards in Mysore became open defecation free wards.



If one government passes the agenda and opposition does not help in any way to fulfil it, then government in absence of public as well as political support is not in position to fulfil them. Suppose, next time opposition comes in to power and also passes a new agenda, then same thing happen with them also. Then such programme, mission, agenda will only remain in manifesto and never convert into reality.

The Government is also required to take some strict action to convert ideas into reality.  Suppose take an example that the government is going to build some 10 crore more toilets by 2019 under Clean India Mission. This means government is going to build 10 crore more septic tanks. Now the question before the government is that who will clean all these septic tanks.  Actual realisation can only occur when all those tasks, which are associated with the task mentioned in target is also fulfilled. Therefore, if the government has target to make 10 crore more toilets upto 2019, then government have also to make proper sewage system. Like in other countries, we also require such sewage systems which have no human intervention. Sanitation needs to be modernised, humanised and free of caste mindset.



(1) P. Venkata Subbarao, Asst. Professor & S Somasekhar, Swachh Bharat: Some Issues and Concern, pg. 90, International Journal of Academic Research.

(2) The Economics Times, Magazine Special Report, September 25 to October 1, 2016.

(3) Bezwada Wilson, national convenor of Safai Karamchari Andolan and winner of Ramon Magsaysay Award for 2016

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