The campaign was launched on the national occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, dated October 2, 2014, as soon as the NDA rose to power.

The importance of keeping our surroundings clean cannot be stressed enough. Clean surroundings will have clean homes, which will render clean societies, thereby, transforming our country India into Swachh Bharat.

Each one is responsible for the cleanliness of their surrounding and the progress of the nation. When each one feels responsible for the nation, the nation grows automatically. 

The Swachh Bharat Mission or the Clean India Campaign was launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, and is one of the most notable projects launched by the NDA government. The movement aims to bring cleanliness at all the corner of the country i.e. Urban/Semi Urban and Rural. 

Previously too, different governments started different missions with different nomenclatures to achieve a cleaner, greener country. However, the awareness created by the present government in this regard has been much more eminent than ever before. It is India’s biggest cleanliness campaign as on current date, with three million government workers and students from all parts of India participating in 4,043 districts, towns and rural areas.

The campaign was launched on the national occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, dated October 2, 2014, as soon as the NDA rose to power. The launch took place in Rajghat, Delhi and was started by the Prime Minister himself cleaning the streets. Approximately 3 million government officials, school teachers and students participated in the launch of the campaign.

The government committed to the cause with an investment of INR 62,000 crore. 

The government also appealed to the citizens to keep the campaign outside of their political views and let their participation be inspired from patriotism. 

The campaign works in a two-fold way:

Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan Grameen for the rural areas and Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan Sheheri for the urban settlements. The former is administered by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation while the latter is administered by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. 

The logo of the mission represents the spectacles worn by Gandhiji which, as the Prime Minister had said, will remind people that the father of this nation is watching how much people are working to keep his country clean. It was a dream that Mahatma Gandhi had dreamt long ago, of seeing India as a clean nation. 

The most significant aims of the mission were to build proper toilets and sanitation facilities across the entire country, and clean the infrastructure and roads of the country. The mission drew attention to the cleaning of toilets in schools and colleges too.  

Some of the objectives the campaign wants to achieve are as follows:
  • To stop open defecation in India, making the disorganised toilets organised;
  • Stopping sanitation and cleaning with the hands by labourers
  • Bringing behavioural change in people as well as making them aware about the importance of cleanliness in surroundings
  • In order to make people aware, the campaign also motivates them to join hands in awareness programs, cleaning programs and rallies
  • Designing, executing and operating all the technological equipment that are of utility
  • Use of disposables to enable complete scientific processing
  • Recycling non-biodegradable wastes
Initiatives/Movements launched under the Campaign

To fulfil the aims and objectives of the Swachh Bharat Mission, a number of other strategies and plans were launched by the government. 

First being, the movement to build toilets across every village and city in the country. According to this mission, open defecation is prohibited. People, especially women have been made aware through the campaign about the diseases that can be caused due to open defecation, to motivate them to use toilets. Every marketplace, police stations, and chowk in India has now been equipped with a toilet. The goal is to make 1.2 crore toilets throughout the country.

The second being, cleaning the roads. The fields, marketplaces, tourist spots, and beaches are incessantly dirtied by people which increases a lot of pollution. Therefore, the government decided to clean these spots and place dustbins everywhere, along with appealing people to use these dustbins. 

Waste management is another important movement under the Swachh Bharat Mission. The government began with waste segregation into biodegradable wastes, dry/non-biodegradable wastes and household wastes. Wet wastes can then be used by biotechnology and dry wastes can be used for recycling.

Waste segregation also facilitates the workers who help to manage wastes and collect them. Another law was made in this regard which said that those disposing wastes will have to pay the waste collectors for disposables, and waste processing. The waste that could not be recycled was destroyed in landfills. Railway stations and trains were cleaned too. 

As part of the initiative, volunteers, identified as Swachhagrahis or “Ambassadors of Cleanliness,” facilitated indoor plumbing and collective sanitation strategies (CAS) at the village level.

Other events involve regional real-time surveillance and alerts by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as The Ugly Indian, Waste Warriors and SWaCH Pune (Solid Waste Collection and Handling).

Other Initiatives

Bollywood Actress, Anushka Sharma and the Vice President of India Mr. M. V. Naidu picked up a broom to help clean the cyclone-hit port city of Visakhapatnam, in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, as part of a clean-up programme.

In October 2014, Prime Minister Modi named a variety of organizations as “company ambassadors,” including The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, Eenadu and India Today, as well as the Dabbawallas of Mumbai. 

Kunwar Bai Yadav of Dhamtari had sold 7 of her goats at the age of 106 to build toilets for her village and was declared as the mascot of the Swachh Bharat Campaign. 

Motivated by the Clean India Project, a robot called Swachh Bot was designed by a Chennai manufacturing group to clean up the waste on Besant Nagar Beach.

Benefits of the Campaign:

The benefits of the campaign are more than we can estimate. A country with proper sanitization and hygiene is a country free from disease, and the underprivileged too get to live in a clean, green environment

The campaign has brought remarkable change in the country with usage of toilets increased by 91.3% and the access to toilets in every household increased by 62.4%. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that at least 180,000 diarrheal deaths have been stopped in rural India since the start of the Swachh Bharat Mission.

Surveys report that the awareness campaign led by the Swachh Bharat Mission is already successful in many of its aspects: 18% people reported that public toilets have become cleaner in their cities, 32% said that students have been made aware of the civic sense, 22% say that one can get faster responses from municipalities, and the ministry says that the Swachhta App has 8.1 million users and has registered 13.1 million complaints of which 90% have been resolved.  

Who can Clean India?

The answer to that is every Indian to whom the country belongs and who is the part of this nation. No government, no law, and no movement can bring change unless the citizens of the country determine to change. Indians need to join hands with the government in its mission and proceed with the aim to keep their home, their country, clean for their own selves. 

Edited by Shraddha Jha

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