New Delhi: Within a day after coming back to India from his highly successful US visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to wield a broom and lead the biggest ever cleanliness and sanitation drive called ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ in the country on Thursday.
To launch ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ mission which aims at creating a ‘Clean India’ in the next five years, the government has chosen October 02, 2014 which marks the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted, “Remembering Gandhiji and Shashtriji on their birth anniversary. Let us take a pledge today to make our country clean.”Earlier, PM Modi reached Rajghat and paid homage to “Father of the Nation’ Mahatma Gandhi. Former PM Manmohan Singh and several other senior leaders were also present at Rajghat. Modi also paid tribute to former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri who shares his birthday with Mahatma Gandhi today.
From there the PM’s cavalcade moved towards the Valmiki Basti where he is expected to pick up the broom to officially kickoff the Clean India Mission. The PM has chosen the Valmiki Basti area as a mark of respect to Mahatma Gandhi, who stayed there to dedicate public toilets to the residents of the locality.
Large scale preparations have been made in government offices and also by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders across the country to ensure success of “Clean India Mission.”
A large number of people are also expected to take cleanliness oath today. Government officials will be administered an oath today to improve cleanliness. BJP leaders said about 30,000 people are expected to take oath at Boat Club lawns here along with Modi.
The launch was preceded by cleanliness campaign week beginning September 25 which saw central government offices being spruced up by discarding or overhauling old furniture and sending old files to record rooms.
The launch of the mission comes in the wake of a perception about Indian cities not being very clean. A number of people in rural areas still do not have access to toilets. Some schools in the rural areas also do not have toilets.
According to the 2011 Census, only 32.70 percent of rural households had access to toilets. According to a UN report released this year, India continues to have the largest number of people in the world defecating in the open.
Modi has been talking of “Clean India” in his major speeches, and most people feel that personal push being given by him to sanitation would have an impact.
Modi has said a “clean India” will be the best tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary in 2019. The Father of the Nation had a penchant for cleanliness in his personal habits and strongly promoted it in society.
Union ministers are also making efforts to sensitise their staff and people about cleanliness. Union Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan Wednesday conducted surprise check in his ministry and expressed unhappiness over cleanliness in some rooms as also loose wires in corridors and upkeep of books in library. Paswan also picked up waste papers.
Home Secretary Anil Goswami also conducted surprise inspections to check cleanliness in home ministry offices and said such inspections will continue in the future. Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani Wednesday released a handbook – Swachh Bharat Swachh Vidyalaya – to encourage hygiene and cleanliness in schools across the country.
The handbook aims at promoting behavioural change in school children so that they become agents of change in the society. Science and Technology Minister Jitendra Singh urged staff of his ministry to devote two hours every week as “shramdan” (labour) to achieve the goal of the mission.
A Rashtrapati Bhavan release said the president’s secretariat and attached offices will remain open Oct 2 in forenoon in connection with the Swachh Bharat Mission and officials and residents will be administered the ‘Cleanliness Oath’.
Academic institutions, industry associations and the corporate sector are expected to pitch in enthusiastically in the mission. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), in a release said, it has launched ‘Mission-Sanitation of Schools (SoS)’ to strengthen the Swachh Bharat initiative.
Sumit Mazumder, president designate, CII said they will work with industry and the government to make Swachh Bharat a reality. Heads of Delhi government schools attended an open house discussion at Thyagraj Stadium under the ‘Swachh Vidyalaya-Swachh Delhi Abhiyan’ and gave their suggestion for improving cleanliness.
Delhi BJP said there there is great enthusiasm among party workers and citizens of Delhi for the mission. Delhi BJP president Satish Upadhyay said about 30,000 citizens and school children shall take pledge with Modi. DTC has started special bus service from 5 am from all the corners of Delhi to ferry people to the Boat Club.
(With Agency inputs)