On the morning of 2nd October 2014, the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi wielded the broom and joined a cleanliness campaign in Delhi. This marked the birth of Swachh Bharat Mission, a full-fledged mass movement to create a clean India, as a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi when the nation marks Gandhi ji’s 150th birth anniversary in 2019.
Cleanliness was an issue very close to Mahatma Gandhi’s heart. He once said that cleanliness and sanitation is even more important than political independence! He also said that an ideal village is one where there is perfect sanitation. He led by example by personally cleaning the toilets.
In the last two years, the Swachh Bharat Mission has created a tremendous impact across the nation.
After many years, cleanliness has emerged at the forefront of public discourse. There has been a historical and unprecedented change in mindset as far as cleanliness is concerned.
Individuals, groups of people, large organisations, community service organisations and media have played an exemplary role in furthering the message of a Swacch Bharat.
Lakhs of cleanliness drives, public meetings, seminars, ground level initiatives have been taking place daily across the length and breadth of the nation.
The construction of toilets has been taking place on a war footing all over India. The Government has made it its mission to create an open-defecation free India, where no citizen has to defecate in the open.
Shri Modi said, “When we are working towards a clean India, who will gain maximum from this- the poor and the marginalized. Lack of cleanliness affects the poor most adversely. Unclean surroundings are a breeding grounds for illness and diseases. A clean India is the fulcrum of a prosperous India. I spoke about this from the ramparts of the Red Fort in my very first 15th August speech. Gone are the days when the world should view India as an unclean place. Cleanliness must become a part of our lives. We have always been particular about personal hygiene. In that spirit, let us also look at societal hygiene and keeping our surroundings clean.”
For the first time in 2014, a separate ministry for Ganga cleaning and rejuvenation was created. On the Ganga the Prime Minister said, “The Ganga is our Mother. In this day and age, we cannot have an unclean Ganga. A clean Ganga can bring an economic transformation in the lives of a substantial percentage of our population.”
Mahatma Gandhi lived for and envisioned a clean India. The NDA Government under Shri Narendra Modi is working to make this into a reality.