“Everyone must be his own scavenger”- Mahatma Gandhi. This statement by Gandhiji is a direct reference to the importance of hygiene and cleanliness in our lives. Sadly enough, after so many years of independence being the firm believer in the Gandhian way of life we Indians have not yet stopped the violence on our senses. We have still not gained independence from our obnoxious unhygienic practices.
On 2nd October 2014 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi initiated a nation-wide campaign to clean India completely by 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhiji. This will be an apt tribute to the ‘Father of the Nation’. The cleanliness campaign have been named as Swachh Bharat and its concept is very simple. It concentrates on providing sanitation facilities to each and every family, and this includes toilets, solid and liquid waste clearance system, village cleanliness and safe and sufficient drinking water. To make his point PM Narendra Modi wielded a broom to clean the streets of Valmiki Sadan in Central Delhi. Significantly, Valmiki Sadan is a colony of sanitation workers and these workers are considered as untouchables.
Since Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is a very broad concept, it’s certain important objectives are as follows:
- Construction of individual, collection and community toilets.
- Elimination or reduction of open defecation.
- Construction of latrines and working towards a broad concept of accountability mechanism of monitoring the usage of toilets.
- Making public aware about the disadvantages of open defecation and promotion of latrine use.
- Employ dedicated grass root staff to bring about behavioral change and promotion of latrine usage.
- Try to alter the mindset of people towards appropriate sanitation needs.
- Keep villages neat and clean.
- Confirm to solid and liquid waste management through gram panchayats.
- Lay down water pipelines in every village and ensure that there is adequate supply of water by 2019.
The government data is portraying a heartening picture as in January 2015, 7.1 lakh individual household toilets have been constructed and 31.83 lakh individual toilets have been built. The government has also released the cleanest city report and Mysore tops the list and West Bengal has made a strong point with twenty five cities in the list.
Now, one may say that cleanliness is a regular part of our lives and why to concentrate on this issue so massively? There are few broad reasons to do this and those are follows:
- This campaign is direct source of employment for many both in the urban and rural areas.
- Clean environment means robust health and this of course reduces the health cost.
- A clean India can attract more tourists and this will lead to more global interest in the country.
- A clean and hygienic India can contribute to the country’s GDP growth.
On 2 October 2015, India is all set to celebrate the first anniversary of Swachh Bharat Mission and many activities will take place to spread message of hygiene far and wide. The PM has constituted a team of ministers to plan a seventeen day anniversary celebration of this mission. There will be huge advertisement campaigns in print, on television and radio. There will be walkathons in states and the best performing cities will be awarded by the high profile ambassadors of the mission.
Our ‘Father of the Nation’ is a revolutionary and a man of learning. His thought swayed many. Hopefully in this era also his concepts about cleanliness alters our habit and view points in the same way. It is a long road and we are not even half done.