campaign
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

News Analysis |

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign for a cleaner India has completed three years on Monday. Though official invitation and billboards had been put in the national capital to celebrate the day as Swachh Bharat Diwas, sanitation ministry officials said there is no question of giving any other name to Gandhi Jayanti as the day was also the birth anniversary of the country’s founder Gandhi.

Swatch Bharat Abhiman is a noble and admirable gesture especially in a region as that of South Asia. According to Unicef, a billion people in South Asia lack access to safe and private toilets

“Gandhi Jayanti remains Gandhi Jayanti and it can never be changed. The celebration is only to mark the three-year completion of the mission,” drinking water and sanitation secretary Parameswaran Iyer told TOI. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief guest of the event to mark the culmination of 15 days intensive Swachhta drive.

Read more: Modi’s economic reforms are slowing down India’s GDP growth

In the run-up to the third anniversary of the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) on Gandhi Jayanti, the prime minister called for an accelerated, nation-wide campaign termed Swachhata Hi Seva, from September 15 to October 2.

The Swachhata Status Report 2016, published by NSSO, states that the percentage of persons practicing open defecation is 52.1 percent in the rural areas and 7.5 percent in urban areas

October 2 is also celebrated as the International Day of Non-Violence. On June 15, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly had voted for this.  Sources said since Gandhiji was the biggest advocate of cleanliness and sanitation, the campaign was launched three years back on his birthday. The government has maintained that Swachh Bharat will be the biggest tribute to Gandhiji.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has been adjudged as the best department for its contribution during ‘Swachhta Pakhwada’, an inter-ministry initiative of the Swachh Bharat Mission. The Ministry observed the Swachhta Pakhwada from February 1-15. The award was presented on the third anniversary of the Mission on October 2. Health Secretary C. K. Mishra received the award on behalf of the Ministry.

Read more: BJP wins India’s biggest state Uttar Pradesh, strengthens Modi’s grip on…

The urban part of the program is handled by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs as the nodal ministry. The rural part is under the Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation

Known as the Swatch Bharat Abhiman, it is one of the most widely promoted programmes of the Modi-led NDA government. The program is divided into Swachh Bharat Urban (SBM-U) and Swachh Bharat Gramin (SBM-G). The urban part of the program is handled by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs as the nodal ministry. The rural part is under the Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.

The Campaign, which had made a mild beginning, has resulted in the construction of a large number of toilets, clean potable water arrangements, regular drills of cleaning etc. Apart from bulging statistics of new toilets, the involvement of the government machinery, institutions, social organizations, common people etc.is an indicator of the campaign’s growing efficacy.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has been adjudged as the best department for its contribution during ‘Swachhta Pakhwada’, an inter-ministry initiative of the Swachh Bharat Mission

A major aim of the Swatch Bharat Abhiman was the provision of toilets to a majority if the Indian population. The primary task of constructing toilets is done either by the individuals with funding help from the government or the government. Under SBM-U, the government had helped construction of 3,074,229 individual toilets and 226,274 public and community toilets. As per the government data, 1,150 cities have been declared open defecation free since October 2, 2014.

Read more: India’s Modi poised to win state elections despite falling economy?

Under SBM-G, 49,906,655 toilets have been constructed. In 2017-18, 10,280,236 toilets have been built. Since the initiative was launched, there has been an increase of 30.52 percent in the number of households with toilets in rural areas. The Swachhata Status Report 2016, published by National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), states that the percentage of persons practicing open defecation is 52.1 percent in the rural areas and 7.5 percent in urban areas.

The celebration is only to mark the three-year completion of the mission,” drinking water and sanitation secretary Parameswaran Iyer told TOI

However, Swatch Bharat Abhiman is a noble and admirable gesture especially in a region as that of South Asia. According to Unicef, a billion people in South Asia lack access to safe and private toilets. This problem is shared by Pakistan too, which is among the 10 countries where most urban dwellers lack access to safe and private toilets.

Here the government can take a leaf from its neighbor’s book and implement a similar project to provide a cleaner Pakistan. However, observers assert that such statistics do not bear any significance unless they can be compared to a reference point. In the absence of such referral points, the SBM cannot be properly evaluated and monitored.

Comments & Discussion