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SWACHCH Bharat- about time this happens


The 'Swachch Bharat Abhiyan' or the 'Clean India Campaign' was announced by the charismatic new Prime Minister of India Mr. Narendra Modi (in power since May 2014) during his first official visit to America while addressing the Indian diaspora at the Madison Square Garden in NYC. Following this, the campaign was officially launched  on Oct 2nd, 2014, from the Gandhi memorial, Raj Ghat (New Delhi), on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti (Mahatma's birth anniversary). To kick off the launch, Mr. Modi himself cleaned an area in New Delhi armed with an old fashioned broom. He even posted before (Why Clean India?) and after (My Clean India) pictures on social media, inspiring many to do the same (Photo seen here on the bottom left). Hence started the movement that is a true tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, has been long overdue and is about time somebody got to this.


 According to Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the concept of Swachh Bharat is to pave access for every person to sanitation facilities including toilets, solid and liquid waste disposal systems, village cleanliness and safe and adequate drinking water supply. 

The goal is to achieve this by 2019 as a befitting tribute to Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th Birth Anniversary. The inspiration comes Mahatma Gandhi who made cleanliness and sanitation an integral Part of the Gandhian way of living. 



According to Zee News,  the 'big plans' constitute the following- 

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  • The Centre will spend about Rs 2 lakh crore in five years towards the goal.
  • the Urban Development Ministry will allocate Rs 62,000 crore for cleaning towns across the country.
  • the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation will spend Rs 1 lakh 34 thousand crores for the programme
  • 19-member expert committee, chaired by scientist Raghunath Anant Mashelkar (former director general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research), has been set up to recommend best technologies for the campaign. It will examine best technologies on sanitation and water -- with affordability, sustainability, scalability and quality as the main criteria.


According to the pledge published by the MEA (Ministry of External Affairs), the pledge requires that-

  •  The person making the pledge works 100 hours in an year (2 hours per week) towards cleaning India and keeping India clean.
  • The person making the pledge inspires 100 other people to do the same.
  • The person making the pledge starts the cleaning effort with self, with his/ her family, with his/her neighborhood, village and workplace.


Of Course, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the force behind the campaign. Mr. Modi's vision is to make the campaign a mass movement, with Mahatama Gandhi as the inspiration. According to Economic TimesModi envisions the cleanliness activities being undertaken at every village across the country, creating a legal architecture that would institutionalize the mission at all levels upto the village, incentivizing best-performing villages, establishing standards of cleanliness for government offices, creating specific roles for various public representatives (including MPsMLAs, Sarpanches etc.), according top priority to towns along the bank of Ganga and its tributaries and organizing events that inspire the masses.

Mr. Modi's Facebook status proclaimed that 'Clean India Campaign' invites you to pick a location & clean it. People were asked to share the 'Why Clean India' (before) & 'My Clean India' (after) images. He invited 9 people to join the Clean India Campaign- Goa Governor Mridula Sinha, Sachin Tendulkar, Baba Ramdev, Shashi Tharoor, Kamal Haasan, Priyanka Chopra, Anil Ambani, Salman Khan and the entire team of the popular TV show 'Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah'.

Celebrities nominated other celebrities and what followed is a wave of celebrities declaring their support and dedication to the cause of cleanliness. Multitude of pictures surfaced on social media and media with ministers and others cleaning up different areas, armed with a broom. Among the latest to join the chain is the 5- time world champion and the Incheon Asian Games gold medallist Mary Kom (yes, the real one).  She was among the ones nominated by Mr. Anil Ambani. As per HTshe in turn nominated actor Darshan Kumar (he played her husband in the biopic Mary Kom), wrestlers Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt, shooter Heena Sidhu, football star Sunil Chhetri and members of Monnet Sports Foundation to join the mission. Ambani had also nominated tennis player Sania Mirza, actor Amitabh Bachchan and six others to join the mission. Salman Khan roped in Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who in turn called upon Deepika Padukone, among others, to 'pick up the broom and get sweeping' on his twitter account. As so the wave continues ....

We Say .. 

 Mahatama Gandhi, the nation's 'bapu', hailed from Gujarat. It is said that he once got very upset at his wife Kasturba because she refused to pick up the broom herself. If you visit Gujarat, you can feel his influence. The fact that India's plan-orientated visionary new leader hails from Gujarat certainly gives the nation reason to believe that he can spread the culture of Gandhi's Gujarat across the country. Those who say this is mere rhetoric, more of a photo-op for the rich and the famous, they are right- as of now. For this is just a start. A good one, mind you for a motivational mantra, a ceremonious kickoff,  targeting people's mindset, leading by example are all important ingredients of a good beginning. So yes, it's a good start, but still just that- a good start. What happens next is important. Does this really turn into a mass movement? Does the government come through in implementing all that are good plans on paper? Will we have a clean India by 2019? If we do, it certainly will be a dream come true! Until then, it is a dream- beautifully depicted by the photo below that was used by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to advertise the photo contest to promote the campaign. Good Luck India!


If so write here or email us your ideas at and we'll mention your ideas in our next article- 'Clean India- Here's How'.

(May 18, 2014) Kanan Garg said:
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