New Delhi: The Centre will launch a nation-wide, fortnight-long sanitation campaign from Friday to highlight the Modi government’s flagship cleanliness initiative Swachh Bharat Mission. The campaign, named ‘Swachhta Hi Seva’ (cleanliness is service) by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will be launched by President Ram Nath Kovind from Ishworiganj village in Kanpur.
The initiative, which is being coordinated by the ministry of drinking water and sanitation, will include ‘sharamdaan’ or voluntary work and will focus on mass mobilisation and reinforce ‘jan andolan’ for sanitation to contribute to Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of a clean India.
“Sanitation is linked to various sectors. From health to giving security and dignity to women, sanitation also affects a country economically. According to UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) good sanitation can save Rs50,000 per year per family," Parmeshwaran Iyer, secretary, ministry of drinking water and sanitation told reporters.
Iyer said the campaign will see large scale mobilisation of people from all walks of life, including the prime minister, Union ministers, chief ministers (CMs), members of parliament (MPs), NGOs to undertake ‘Shramdaan’ for cleanliness, construction of toilets and to make their surroundings free from open defecation. It will target cleaning of public and tourist places too.
The ministry has made elaborate plans along with the state governments to reach out to poor and marginalised and provide them with sustainable sanitation services. The government has identified special dates during the campaign period, with 17 September being reserved for voluntary work and cleanliness and construction of toilets.
Vice-president Venkaiah Naidu is scheduled to visit a village in Karnataka on 17 September, seva diwas, and offer ‘shramdaan’ for toilet construction and general cleanliness. On 24 September, citizens at panchayat and municipal levels will take up voluntary work. On 25 September, cleaning of public places, bus stands, hospitals will be cleaned. A special cleanliness drive is planned for 15 identified places on 1 October.
Doordarshan will also hold a world premiere of the film Toilet: Ek Prem Katha on 17 September, Modi’s birthday. On 2 October, Gandhi Jayanti, which is also the Swachh Bharat Diwas, awards for essays, short film and painting competitions will be given.