By: Arpit Gupta
Cleanliness is not something to be achieved by budget allocations. It is rather, something that should become a mass movement, said the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, today while delivering the inaugural address at INDOSAN – the India Sanitation Conference – in New Delhi today.
He said that while no one likes dirt or dirty surroundings, the habit of cleanliness takes some effort to develop. The Prime Minister added that children are increasingly conscious about issues regarding cleanliness. This shows that the Swachhta Abhiyan is touching people’s lives. He added that a healthy competition is now developing among cities and towns, for promoting cleanliness.
Appreciating the media for its positive role, the Prime Minister said that if there is someone who has furthered the cause of cleanliness more than me, it is the media.
Recalling Mahatma Gandhi’s Satyagraha to free us from colonial rule, the Prime Minister said that today there has to be ‘Swachhagraha’ to make India free from dirt.
The Prime Minister said re-use and recycling have been our habits for a long time. He added that these need to be made more technology-driven.
The Prime Minister congratulated the award winners, and especially appreciated some of them for succeeding through Jan Bhagidaari.
Notably, the Prime Minister had launched the Swachh Bharat Mission on 2nd October, 2014 to accelerate the efforts to achieve universal sanitation coverage and to put focus on sanitation.
It is India’s biggest ever cleanliness drive and 3 million government employees and school and college students of India participated in this event.
At present 87, 666 villages are ODF, apart from 1,544 villages in Namami Gange areas. This needs to be underlined that the sanitation coverage was 42.12 percent on 2nd October, 2014, when the programme was launched, which has now increased to 55.31 percent, while 24 Districts have been declared as ODF ones. Sikkim is the only State which has achieved the ODF status, and Kerala, Haryana, Gujrat and Maharashtra will soon achieve the ODF status.
The Union Minister for Rural Development, Drinking Water & Sanitation and Panchayati Raj Narendra Singh Tomar said that by 2nd October, this year, one lakh villages will become Open Defecation Free (ODF) and 40 Districts will achieve the status of ODF Districts in this financial Year.
Tomar further said that the Central Government, State Governments, Municipal bodies, Panchayati Raj Institutions, NGOs, Spiritual and Religious leaders, Public Representatives, Educational Institutions and famous personalities from all walks of life have joined hands together to make India, a Clean India by 2nd October, 2019, the 50th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, as announced by the Prime Minister. The Minister stressed that Swachh Bharat Mission is not a government programme, but it’s a people’s movement and there is need for behavioural change among the people as merely toilet construction will not be sufficient to achieve the ODF status.
Tomar informed that the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation is compiling the best practices from villages across the country and will bring it to the notice of the common man to emulate the same. The Minister expressed confidence that after Prime Minister’s address at the INDOSAN, the Swachh Mission will gain new momentum.