Public Policy

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan : A Step Towards ‘Clean India’

I take pledge to devote at least 100 hours a day to clean my environment,my society. I shall not make the society dirty nor shall let any person do that. I shall start the cleanliness drive from my home, my school, my workplace, my community. All the nations which are clean are due to the fact that the citizens of those countries do not make their countries dirty. As a responsible citizen of India, I pledge that I shall keep India clean and promote the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and devote at least 100 hours for cleanliness every year.

swacch bharat abhiyan

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is National level campaign started on October 2, 2014 by Narendra Modi and his govt, and all Indian citizens to make India a clean country by 2019. The date October 2 marks the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi – Bapu – who was a staunch believer in sanitation and cleanliness. Year 2019 will mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. This programme is not just about constructing toilets but cleaning India as a whole. Narendra Modi  gave a speech on Raj path and we all took pledge to keep our India clean. He invited nine people- Anil Ambani, Priyanka Chopra, Salman Khan, Sachin Tendulkar, Ramdev, Kamal Hassan, Mridula Hassan, Shashi Tharoor and Shazia Ilmi- in the cleanliness drive. Each individual in turn will bring in 9 more individuals with him/her and the cycle will go on until every citizen of India is brought into the campaign. PM also invited SAB TV serial “Taarak Mehta Ka Ulta Chashma” to spread awareness among the people about the importance of cleanliness and spread awareness among people about the campaign.[1] While brooming himself in the Valmaki colony near Raj path (colony of saniation workers), he said this campaign is beyond politics and inspired by patriotism.[2]There was also a Swachh Bharat Run organized in Rashtrapati Bhawan on October 3, 2014 which was flagged off by President Pranab Mukherjee.

The Govt. will spend Rs. 62000 crores on this project. Each village will be getting Rs. 20, 00,000 every year for this project.[3] He linked the cleanliness drive with economics and remarked that it is also an economic activity which will contribute to GDP by giving employment and also reducing extra- healthcare costs. It will also promote global tourism. He said that we all clean our homes during Diwali now it is the turn to clean our country.[4] Nice linkage with Diwali. We clean our homes because we think that Goddess Lakshmi comes in clean places, so we will clean India so that Goddess comes in India!

He is also planning to launch a campaign on the social media, much on the lines of ALS Water Bucket Challenge. The first person to start this challenge will be no other than our Narendra Modi. We will post two photographs – “before and after cleanliness”.[5] We should actually upload the video of cleaning the dirty places. He had also asked the State Governments to organize walkathons and marathons to publicize the Abhiyan. The aim is to link every activity geared toward the cleanliness into the campaign by every possible mean. So, for example; The students took oath on October 15, 2014 pledging to wash hands before having food and after defecating.[6] TV shows like Satyamev Jayate , Kaun Banega Crorepati , Comedy Nights with Kapil etc. are also planning to have some episodes dedicated to this plan. There is also a Swachh Bharat Photo Contest which is being organized by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

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So, the effort is to make it popular among the masses by inviting celebrities. Our PM is also no less than a celebrity. The elections of 2014 and the spectacular event at Madison Square are more than sufficient to talk about his popularity among the world. The idea is to persuade the people to not to litter by propagation through these celebrities, TV shows, Photo contests, Marathons etc.

Littering in public places has become so ingrained in the habits of Indians that they do not realize that what they are doing but they can make differences between Indian cities and cities like Dubai, Sydney, U.S. Cities and Singaporean cities.  Is it that these countries have 24*7 automatic Robot services that keep on cleaning streets and picking garbage every time a person litters?? I mentioned about Robots because to my understanding humans can’t do that. So, are they so developed to have robots in large numbers to keep their countries clean? Certainly not. It is not just the duty of civic authorities to clean the streets but also it is the duty of citizens to keep their country clean, to not to litter. The people who themselves litter in India have no right to compare Indian cities with foreign countries.

One may ask the question that is it all about propagating it? Will the propagation alone change the mindset? No. Change has to come from within the society but at the same time there is strong need to spread awareness among the people about the ill-effects of our bad habit. Just giving an example. Chandigarh is supposed to be one of the cleanest cities of India. But just after one or two days of the launch of this campaign, when I was standing in the balcony in my home I saw so many people taking their pets out and using the bushes and corners of the houses to let their dogs relieve and the same people will also say with a distinct kind of pride that in foreign countries like U.S. people take poop bags along with them whenever they are going out for a walk with their pets.

Just a common sight in our lives and it tells so much. It says that even after more than 60 years of independence we still have so backward outlook that we need national level campaign for the basic things. It tells that even after launching the programme with so much zeal and fervor, people in  developed and urban cities do not know and care about the efforts of govt. and the other citizens , what to talk of countryside.

This article is an attempt to spread awareness among the people about the campaign and at the same time to bring about a change in our habits. Only big buildings, high GDP growth, cars like Ferrari and others on the roads do not make a good image in the world but the things mentioned above also tarnish it and create a bad image in the world. This is not about just setting an image in the world. It’s about keeping our own country clean, it’s about keeping our own selves clean and healthy.

I hope that govt. will keep on propagating this plan throughout 5 years so that people don’t forget about it!. I really think that the govt. has initiated a very good programme with full vigor, zeal and enthusiasm. Now, it’s our turn to reciprocate this zeal and vision of not just our Bapu but of every Indian to have a clean India.

Remember, one individual is alone to bring a change. Charity begins at home. An individual will involve his family, a family will involve other families, and families will involve communities and ultimately the entire country.

Jai Hind! Jai Swachh Bharat !

About the Author

Kanchan Singla

Kanchan is a second year law student at National Law University, Delhi. Out of the subjects that she has studied till now, she takes interests in criminal Law. Her hobbies include painting, watching movies, listening to songs etc.

Endnotes 

[1] SAB TV to Back Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, INDIAN EXPRESS, October 8, 2014 http://indianexpress.com/article/entertainment/television/sab-tv-to-back-narendra-modis-swachh-bharat-abhiyan/ .

[2]  Clean Indian Campaign: Village Panchayats to Get Rs. 20 lakh Each, INDIAN EXPRESS, October 2, 2014 http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/clean-india-campaign-village-panchayats-to-get-rs-20-lakh-eachhttp://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/clean-india-campaign-village-panchayats-to-get-rs-20-lakh-each/

[3]  Id.

[4] Narendra Modi wants Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to be linked with Economic Activity, INDIAN EXPRESS, September 11, 2014 http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/narendra-modi-wants-swachh-bharat-to-be-linked-with-economic-activity/

[5] PM Plans Social Media Challenge to clean India, INDIAN EXPRESS, October 2, 2014 http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-others/pm-plans-social-media-challenge-to-clean-india/

[6] Shikha Sharma, After Cleanliness Pledge , School Students will take Oath on Washing Hands on October, 15 , INDIAN EXPRESS, October 14, 2014http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/after-cleanliness-pledge-school-students-will-take-oath-on-washing-hands-on-oct-15/

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