Mindful that the ‘Clean India Campaign’ would not be successful without people’s participation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants all fellow-citizens to contribute at least two hours a week towards cleanliness.
In a message on Swachh BharatMission – to be launched on Gandhi Jayanti – Mr. Modi said: ``I urge every one of you to devote at least hundred hours every year, that is two hours every week towards cleanliness. We can’t let India remain unclean any longer.’’
Pointing out that cleanliness was very close to Mahamta Gandhi’s heart, Mr. Modi said a clean India would be the best tribute India could pay to him while celebrating his 150 birth anniversary in 2019. ``Mahatma Gandhi devoted his life so that India attains `Swarajya’. Now the time has come to devote ourselves towards `Swachchhata’ (cleanliness) of our motherland.’’
The Government has decided to invoke Mahatma Gandhi and rope in religious leaders from all faiths to drive the Mission. As per estimates prepared by the Ministries of Urban Development and Rural Development, Rs. 2 lakh crore will be spent on the Mission over the next five years.
Briefing mediapersons in New Delhi on the roadmap for the campaign on Thursday, Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said Mahatma Gandhi used to say ``sanitation is more important than political freedom’’ and the Swachh Bharat logo seeks to capture that vision. The logo was crowd-sourced as is becoming the norm with the Modi Government.
The Government has already contacted yoga guru Baba Ramdev, Art of Living guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the Ramakrishna Mission and the Kanchi Kamakoti Peeth, and was in the process of roping in the Catholic Bishops Conference of India and Muslim clerics.
The first phase of the campaign will run till October-end and the endeavour would be to turn it into a mass movement, requiring not just toilets but also a behavioural change. Of the Rs. 2 lakh crore, the bulk – Rs. 1.34 lakh crore – will be ploughed into rural areas, said Union Rural Development Minister Nitin Gadkari. The urban component will cost Rs. 62,009 crore.
As per the plans, the Centre is hoping that States will pick up 25 per cent of the tab and corporates will dole out generously from their Corporate Social Responsibility corpus for the national endeavour. Besides construction of toilets, the other components of the campaign include eradication of manual scavenging, solid waste management and “converting waste into wealth.”
On whether the Government was considering a penalty provision like in Singapore to enforce the cleanliness drive, Mr. Naidu said no decision had been taken on this front yet. He did, however, flag the Singapore example where a fifth of the country’s revenue comes from such fines.