New Delhi: India Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the “Swachh Bharat Mission” here Thursday, which is aimed at creating a ‘Clean India’ in the next five years.
Modi would symbolically wield a broom Oct 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, and reach out to all Indians to make cleanliness a mass movement.
Preparations are being made in government offices and also by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders in Delhi for large participation in “cleanliness oath” to be taken Thursday.
BJP leaders said about 30,000 people were expected to take oath at Boat Club lawns here along with Modi.
The launch was preceded by cleanliness campaign week beginning Sep 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.
Modi will visit Rajghat – Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial – Thursday and later visit a Dalit colony. He would visit India Gate and launch the nationwide mission.
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.
Government officials will be administered an oath Thursday to improve cleanliness.
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.
“CII will mobilise construction of 10,000 toilets in the first phase (by the end of 2015-2016). Based on the feedback received and assessments on ground, in the next six months, CII will announce targets for the second phase,” the release said.
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.
He said DTC will start special bus service Thursday at 5 a.m. from all the corners of Delhi to Boat Club.