By YKA Staff:
The Swachh Bharat Mission is well into its second year now. And like all other government initiatives (not just of this one, but even of the ones that have gone before), it has its successes, its roadblocks, its ambitions and well, its short-sightedness.
We understand when the Prime Minister says that the Mission aims to make the country ‘open-defecation free’ by 2019, but where the aim seems lacking is in its definition of a ‘clean’ India.
Does ‘clean’ mean the mere construction of toilets even though they aren’t being used due to the absence of functionality?
Has the Mission taken into account the foot-soldiers, the people who for ages now have been quietly keeping the country clean? The ones who have been sweeping the roads, cleaning the toilets, collecting our garbage and are forced to still resort to manual scavenging to earn their daily bread.
The 2011 census revealed that even after untouchability was declared unconstitutional in 1955 and manual scavenging banned in 1993, the practice still continues in many parts of India and the people belonging to what are termed as ‘lower castes’ have to face discrimination throughout their lives.
So can we call the country ‘Swachh’ in the true sense of the word if we don’t acknowledge and tackle this issue head on? Is the Mission inclusive of all Indians? How much do we concern ourselves with this question?
YKA went around the city and asked people some very simple questions like – who cleans their toilet at home? Do they know the name of the person who comes to clean their washroom/collect the garbage? Would they allow the person to enter their kitchen?