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SWACHH BHARAT ABHIYAN

The Abhiyan was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 2nd of October, 2014 at Rajghat, New Delhi with an aim to make India clean. Aim is to provide sanitation facilities to every family, including toilets, solid and liquid waste disposal systems, village cleanliness, and safe and adequate drinking water supply by 2nd October, 2019. It will be a befitting tribute to the Father of the Nation on his 150th birth anniversary. It is significant that the PM himself is taking very proactive role in making the campaign a success; at Rajghat he started the campaign by cleaning the street himself. However, it has been clearly declared that the campaign is not only the duty of the Government but each and every citizen of the country is equally responsible to keep the nation clean or swachh.

HISTORY OF SWACHH BHARAT ABHIYAN

The campaign of clean India movement is the biggest step taken ever as a cleanliness drive till date. On the day of launch of campaign around 3 million government employees including students from schools and colleges had participated in the event to make it popularize globally and make common public aware of it. This event was organized at Rashtrapati Bhavan on 2nd of October in 2014 in the presence of 1500 people. This event was flagged off by the Indian President, Pranab Mukherjee.

Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, had nominated the name of nine famous personalities from business industries, sports and Bollywood to drive the clean India campaign. He also had requested from all nine personalities to invite another nine personalities individually and requested to continue the chain nine people to take this campaign to every Indian living in any corner all around the country.

By getting inspired from this Indian campaign, the Indo Nepal Doctors Association has launched a campaign called “Swachh Bharat Nepal – Swasth Bharat Nepal Abhiyan” on 3rd of January in 2015. It was started from the Indo-Nepal Border Region, Sunauli – Belihiya (near birth place of Lord Buddha, holy city of Lumbini, Nepal).

Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) of cleanliness in India was started in 1999 by the Government of India in order to restructure the Rural Sanitation Programme. Nirmal Gram Puraskar was started in the month of June in 2003 as a sanitation programme to boost the Total Sanitation Campaign. It was a an incentive scheme launched by the Government of India in 2003 to award people for total sanitation coverage, maintaining clean environment as well as making villages open defecation-free villages by the Panchayats, Blocks and Districts.

Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA) was started in 2012 and then Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014 on 2nd of October. However, all the sanitation and cleanliness programmes run by the Indian government earlier were not as effective as the current Swachh Bharat Abhiyan of 2014.

Gandhi Ji’s and His Role on Sanitation:
Mahatma Gandhi was a great champion of cleanliness. He was very much concerned about the dirty roads, streets, temples and specially, harizan bastis of the country. Just after returning from South Africa he noticed very bad state of affairs in India regarding sanitation and cleanliness. He took upon himself to motivate and personally commit towards making the country filth free.

As early as 4th February 1916, while addressing a gathering at the inauguration function of Banaras Hindu University, Gandhi ji spoke about the importance of cleanliness and expressed his pain and anguish about the dirt and filth all around. He gave example of his visit to Vishwanath Temple and spoke about the dirty state of affairs in and around the temple. He said: “Is not this great temple a reflection of our own character?” Sharing his pain he questioned whether the temple would be dirt and filth free after the British had left the country. Thus for him cleanliness was equally important as the freedom of the nation.

Gandhi ji was always of the view that everyone should first be the change he/she wishes to see in the world. Thus, whenever and wherever Gandhi ji would get the opportunity he himself would start cleaning the places. Also, as part of constructive programmes and visits all over the country, apart from preparing people for mass struggle against the British, he also lectured them about the importance of cleanliness and proper sanitation.

Gandhi ji always emphasise the need to educate villagers on good hygiene and sanitation. According to him, the true function of the Ashram was to educate people how they could avoid disease. Gandhi ji and his volunteers would conduct a mass contact programme with the villagers; they would talk about the necessity of sanitation, about keeping their places clean, and about personal hygiene.

When the villagers near Gandhi’s ashram refused to cover excreta with earth believing it to be a bhangi’s work and sinful, Gandhi personally supervised the scavenging work in villages. To set an example, he, himself used to go to the villages with a bucket and a broom and would clean the places.

Gandhi ji regularly wrote about the importance of hygiene in his newspaper Harijan. Thus, the Father of our Nation fought not only against the bondages of the British rule but also against the bad practices our people regarding sanitation and hygiene. All his life he inspired and motivated people to maintain personal as well as public hygiene.
Therefore, it is a great gesture and an apt tribute to the Mahatma that the Government has launched the “Swachh Bharat Compaign” on his birth day i. e. on 2nd of October.

OBJECTIVES OF SWACHH BHARAT ABHIYAN

Following are the some important objectives of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan:

  • To eradicate the system of open defecation in India.
  • To convert the insanitary toilets into pour flush toilets.
  • To remove the system of manual scavenging.
  • To make people aware of healthy sanitation practices by bringing behavioral changes in people.
  • To link people with the programmes of sanitation and public health in order to generate public awareness.
  • To build up the urban local bodies strong in order to design, execute and operate all systems related to cleanliness.
  • To completely start the scientific processing, disposals reuse and recycling the Municipal Solid Waste.

All efforts will make India stand out of other nations.

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