India that is Bharat is an ancient civilization. It is considered to be a pious nation, its people are very religious. India is 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 everywhere; anywhere one looks large mounds of dirt will be found.
It’s not in our behaviour 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 65 years of Independence, it is really shameful that Indians are famous for their unhygienic behaviour.
Recently, a new Government came into power and one of its main priorities are to make India clean. And for the same objective, the Government has launched a scheme in the name of “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan”.
The Government has associated the Abhiyan with Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi as he was a great champion 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 Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 2nd of October, 2014 at Rajghat, New Delhi with an aim to make India clean. Aim is 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 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 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 of it. This event was organized at Rashtrapati Bhavan on 2nd of October in 2014 in the presence of 1500 people. This event was flagged off by the Indian President, 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 nine personalities to invite another nine personalities individually and requested to continue the chain nine people to take this campaign to every Indian living in any corner all around the country.
Narendra Modi has said that this campaign should be taken as the big challenge and must 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 may India become a clean country forever in the history.
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 a 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 champion of cleanliness. He was very much concerned about the dirty roads, streets, temples and specially, harizan 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.
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 British had left the country. Thus for him cleanliness was equally important as the freedom of the nation.
Gandhi ji was always of 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 British, he also lectured them about the importance of cleanliness and proper sanitation.
In D.G. Tendulkar’s “Mahatma”, Volume Three, there is a reference to 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 used that occasion to give a lecture on the need to rely not on medicines for a cure, but to prevent disease.
Gandhi ji always emphasise 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.
When the villagers near Gandhi’s ashram refused to cover excreta with earth 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 of 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 our people regarding sanitation and hygiene. All 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 Compaign” 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 fulfil the vision and mission of “Clean India” by 2nd of October 2019 which is 150th birth anniversary of the 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 Narender 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.
Only recently 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. 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 may 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.
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 make globalize. It was also said by the Narendra Modi that the one who do this would really be appreciated for his/her involvement in the campaign by the government on the social media websites. Many famous personalities of the Bollywood, Tollywood, politicians, sports, business industries, etc such as Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Rhithik Roshan, Sachin Tendulkar, Mridula Sinha ji, Anil Ambani, Ramdev Baba, Shashi Tharoor, Kamal Haasan, Priyabka Chopra, M. Venkaiah Naidu, Amit Shah, Salman Khan, team of Tarak Mehta Ka Oolta Chashma and many other participated in the campaign according to their own decided dates and uploaded their pictures on the internet on Facebook and Twitter.
It is also done by the students from schools, colleges, universities, and other educational institutions. Youths of the country involving in the daily routine job and other business activities also participated in the event and do the same. All the activities done by famous personalities, students and youths of the country has supported and encouraged common public to do 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.
Students from most of the schools and colleges had participated in the event in group then why we are back, we also should actively participate in the event. Most of the independent application programme developers have made many mobile applications using mobile technologies to make this campaign a successful campaign. Medias are also boosting this campaign through their articles and news publications. Times of India has also motivated the people towards this campaign by publishing the article under 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”.
A Nationwide Real Time Monitoring system has also been launched by the Government of India in order construct toilets under this campaign aiming to attain 100% Open Defecation Free India by 2019. 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 meeting our hands together and taking this clean Abhiyan as an important part of our life as the vision of clean India can 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” is released on 11 August 2017. This film is directed by Shree Narayan Singh and co-produced by Akshay Kumar and Neeraj Pandey. Lead roles are played by Akshay Kumar and Bhumi Pednekar. This movie supports 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.
Another Cleanliness Initiative in UP under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan Campaign
The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, in March 2017 has banned chewing paan, paan masala, gutka and other tobacco products during duty hours in all the government offices all over the state when he saw betel-juice stained walls, corners during his first visit to the secretariat annexe 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.