Why We Need To Give The Swachh Bharat Mission More Than Just 365 Days

Posted on October 7, 2015 in Politics

By Himadrish Suwan:

The Indian faction is now admired all around the sphere and time has changed promptly for India. Now the world is seeing India with immense craving and buoyancy. The rings of change are swiftly moving! From expeditious resolution moulding to tactile exertion on the deck level, to ameliorated output, India’s stature on the world stage is increasing. India is truly undergoing a phenomenal metamorphosis. Last year on the eve of Bapu’s Jayanti, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched one of his most ambitious projects, the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan‘, a mission to clean India. The campaign aims to realise Mahatma’s dream of a ‘Swachh India’ by 2019, when India will celebrate Bapu’s 150th birthday, aiming to be a true honour to the Mahatma who relentlessly emphasised the importance of ‘swachhta’ (cleanliness). He was aware of the pathetic situation of rural people at that time and he dreamed of a clean India where he emphasised on cleanliness and sanitation as an integral part of living. Unfortunately, even after 69 years of independence, we have only about 30 percent of rural households with access to toilets.

swacch bharat modi
Image source: Google+

With the Centre having started this people’s project last year, one would have expected a similar response from the Chief Ministers and government of different states. Sadly that was not forthcoming as it was seen as a BJP-RSS initiative rather than a people’s movement which will benefit 1.25 crore Indians. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan should be a combined effort of both the government as well as the people. Cleanliness is no doubt connected to tourism and global interests of the country as a whole. India is already a known hub on the world tourist map. It is high time now that India’s top tourist destinations display high-class levels of cleanliness so as to change India’s global perception. With India accounting for more than 60% of the world’s open defecation, the Prime Minister’s personal involvement and initiative set the tempo, but on the ground it has failed to make an impact. Consequently, the capital was listed on the bottom mark in the state of cleanliness. No doubt, the Prime Minister himself has taken up a brilliant initiative and is constantly monitoring the state of cleanliness, which is actually the need of the hour. In the months after it was launched, the campaign gained momentum with many celebrities, politicians and academic institutions organising cleanliness drives across the country, but somehow it lost momentum.

Positive response for Swachh Bharat was negligible, and an insincere contribution in the area of toilet building, awareness campaigns, etc. added to its failure and ground-level implementation. According to the 2011 Government of India census, 67% households did not have access to proper sanitation. We should appreciate the Ministry of Drinking and Water Sanitation which is implementing this ambitious programme in rural belts and has built more than 95 lakh toilets. Narendra Modi’s sanitation policy is quite ambitious and a step in the right direction in realisation of the Prime Minister’s dream of a Clean India by 2019. The Modi government has been quite active in shoring up funds for the PM’s pet project by launching a separate fund account ‘Swachh Bharat Kosh‘ which seeks charitable contribution for  ‘Swachh Bharat’. The latest donor of Rs.100 crore to this Kosh is spiritual guru Mata Amritanandayi Maa ‘Amma’. Such contributions and donation certainly adds to the success of this mission as it has to be a ‘people’s revolution towards cleanliness’.

Modi’s good governance process seems to be running in momentum. One year is not enough to judge a government but it’s enough time to understand and predict its future. The Chief reformer and his team looks sanguine to consummate those hopes and aspirations. In hindsight, in 365 days the control and administration has moved from an epoch of policy immobility to an epoch of policy primacy. Narendra Modi’s ambitious project ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ has certainly changed the mindset of the masses to a considerable extent.