President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday flagged off the ‘Swachh Bharat’ mission at Kirnahar in West Bengal's Birbhum district by administering pledge to the students and others at the Kirnahar Shib Chandra High School.
The President also paid floral tributes to portraits of Mahatma Gandhi and Shri Lal Bahadur Sastri, former Prime Minister of India, on the occasion of their birth anniversaries, a release issued by the Press Information Bureau (PIB), said. He also cited the example of socialist countries where people’s involvement changed the literacy levels and enhanced the standard of cleanliness.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Mukherjee called upon all to get themselves involved in the mission of making India clean. He said that it is not possible for the government alone to accomplish the tasks of eradication of illiteracy, maintaining cleanliness, keeping the environment green and maintaining ecological and environmental balance. In order to attain these goals, involvement of the larger and the responsible sections of the society, along with the government, is very much necessary, he added.
Underscoring the importance of cleanliness, Mr. Mukherjee referred to a lesson he learnt when he was a student of the Kirnahar Shib Chandra School itself. “In order to make one’s own village look like a picture again, one has to keep his home and its surroundings clean,” Mr. Mukherjee said.
Interestingly, he cited the instances of socialist countries like Vietnam and Cuba where people’s involvement has greatly contributed to attain social objectives like removal of illiteracy and maintaining cleanliness. “If the non-governmental efforts are not combined with the government’s endeavour, we will not be able to make much progress,” he said.
Mr. Mukherjee also referred to the 10 commitments that were made during the U.N.’s Social Summit held at Copenhagen in 1995. “The third commitment was that every country must make the environment clean,” he said.
The President said that government has accorded much more priority to cleanliness and has taken it up as a mission. Accordingly, the program is being launched on Thursday in 6 Lakh villages and a number of cities in the country. Enlisting hundred volunteers by each one who has taken Swachhta pledge today would go a long way in making the country clean, the President said.
He also said that by involving ourselves in the mission, we would repay the dividend for the social investment that has been made on us and thus would be able to attain a life which would be desirable and aspired for, the PIB release said.
MP Abhijit Mukherjee, Birbhum District Magistrate P. Mohan Gandhi, school president Nasim Khan and school Head Master Nilkamal Bandyopadhyay, among others, were present on the occasion.