New Delhi: With construction of around nine crore (8,71,25,765) household toilets, sanitation coverage in rural parts of India has increased from 38.70 per cent in 2014 to 94.91 per cent today. This has led to 25 states and union territories, over 5 lakh (5,11,087) villages, and 530 districts turning Open Defecation Free (ODF). Over the years, Swachh Bharat Mission, has created a flurry of activities which has not only garnered appreciation in India, but from one of the world’s most successful and influential businessman and philanthropist, Bill Gates.
At the NDTV-Dettol Banega Swachh India 12-hour-cleanathon on October 2, also observed as Rashtriya Swachhta Diwas, ministers from different departments joined the campaign and spoke about different aspects of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, ranging from cleanliness, healthcare, manual scavenging to educating people about keeping India clean.
Here are the key issues and things that ministers spoke about:
- Minister of Commerce and Industry, Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, talked about our diplomatic nature that is how we keep our house, our room, and our office clean, but when it comes to the nation, we leave it on the government.
We will defile because it is our right and government will clean-up because it is their duty. This thing can never work, said Mr. Prabhu.
- Arun Jaitley, Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, lauded the Central government’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and talked about the role model country being Japan, for this campaign. Crediting women for bringing much required behavioural change in rural areas, Mr. Jaitley said,
Even if you build a toilet, the old habit of people going into the fields rather than using an enclosed chamber at home, how do you get them to change that behaviour. And I think the critical part that helped here was the so called people’s movement became a women’s movement. It is the women who led it more in rural India than their male counterparts.
- “The clean India programme will work with public participation, but conversion of waste into wealth is also an important aspect. If we manage waste effectively and generate value out of it, then the campaign will gain momentum,” said Union Minister of Water Resources and Road Transport, Nitin Gadkari, talking about solid and liquid waste management, Ganga clean-up, the problem of water and plastic in India. He also directed the authorities to use plastic and rubber waste in road construction and reuse waste water to generate power.
- Jitendra Singh, Minister of State Atomic Energy and Space, shared inspirational stories of individuals who are leading the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in their own way. While a 14-year-old Nisha Kumari, from Jammu and Kashmir’s Udhampur district, who sat on a hunger strike to press her family and the authorities to ensure that a toilet gets constructed in her house, 87-year-old Rakki Devi, from Jammu and Kashmir’s Badali village in Udhampur, single-handedly constructed a toilet near her house in a weeks’ time. Since some people are used to defecate under the sky, roofless toilets were constructed in border areas and gradually that was ended, courtesy rigorous campaign to bring in a behavioural change.
- Discussing the issue of manual scavenging prevailing in the urban areas of the country, Uma Bharti, Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation, said that it is a shameful act. She said, before sending someone in the pit to clean it, we should ask SDM (Sub-Divisional Magistrate) of the area to go down. For sure, he will not go without ensuring his safety. To raise the issue of cleanliness, she decided to make Gandagi se nafrat aur desh se pyar (Hate filth, love your country) as part of all her speeches.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.