Sustaining Swachh Bharat Mission a challenge

Updated - November 16, 2021 07:08 pm IST

Published - October 04, 2014 12:14 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi wields the broom at the Mandir Marg police station in New Delhi on Thursday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi wields the broom at the Mandir Marg police station in New Delhi on Thursday.

Now that the Modi government’s ambitious Swachh Bharat Mission has been launched with much fanfare and drawn attention to the crying need to clean up the country, the focus has shifted to building toilets, maintaining them and keeping all public spaces clean.

The first phase of the campaign, which will run till Diwali, will endeavour to turn it into a mass movement, requiring not just toilets but also a change in the behaviour and mindsets of the people. 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.

While Union Rural Development Minister Nitin Gadkari said the bulk — Rs.1.34 lakh crore — would be ploughed into rural areas, Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said the urban component would cost Rs. 62,009 crore.

The Centre is hoping that the States will pick up 25 per cent of the tab and corporates will dole out generously through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) corpus for the national endeavour. Other key 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 Singapore to enforce the cleanliness drive, Mr. Naidu said no decision had been taken on the issue yet. Besides invoking Mahatma Gandhi, the government had decided to rope in religious leaders to drive the Mission even before Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited nine prominent individuals, including Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and cine stars Salman Khan and Priyanka Chopra to become ambassadors for the cause.

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 is in the process of roping in the Catholic Bishops Conference of India and Muslim clerics.

Reacting to the Prime Minister’s invite, Mr. Tharoor tweeted: “Honoured to accept the invitation of PM to join Clean India campaign … I am not a fan of tokenism. Clean India is a great campaign, but challenge will be to sustain it beyond a week of photo ops. ”

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