Home/ Politics / Policy/  Narendra Modi launches Clean India Mission

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched the Swachh Bharat Mission or Clean India Campaign at Rajpath, the avenue that runs from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate in New Delhi, in front of school children, government officials and celebrities.

Addressing the audience, Modi said the “Swachh Bharat Mission is beyond politics. All governments have done something or the other to achieve cleanliness in the country. I greet all of them for this. I do not make any claims that only this government has done everything."

The prime minister read out a pledge urging people to dedicate 100 hours per year to volunteer towards making India a cleaner country.

Working towards a clean India should not be the responsibility of the government alone, Modi said. “It is the task of every citizen of this country to keep it clean. It is a tough task but we have till 2 October, 2019 to complete it."

Earlier in the day, Modi visited Valmiki Basti in the capital, a colony of sanitation workers. He started his cleanliness drive from the basti by sweeping the pavement.

Modi had announced the campaign on Independence Day to make sure India is litter free and every house has access to a toilet by 2019. The five year mission will end on 2 October 2019 that also marks the 150-birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

Initiating for a Social Media campaign, Modi invited nine people to come clean a public place and urged them to invite nine more people. The list of people invited includes the Goa governor Mridula Sinha, Sachin Tendulkar, Baba Ramdev, Shashi Tharoor, Anil Ambani, Salman Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Kamal Haasan and the team of Sab TV show Tarak Mehta ka Oolta Chashma.

The invitees accepted the challenge expressing happiness. “I humbly accept the challenge...," tweeted Tendulkar. Chopra also took to Twitter to accept Modi’s invitation. “I humbly accept respected Prime Minster Narendra Modiji’s challenge. This is an idea that is long overdue," the actress tweeted. Goa governor Sinha said she was happy to be chosen as a campaigner for Swachh Bharat Mission and has already started work by inviting voluntary organisations and officers.

Apart from the challenge a separate website, Twitter account and mobile application has been created for the Clean India campaign. Through this people can upload before and after pictures of the area they clean.

The campaign has been started simultaneously at a national level. Ministers and members of parliament joined the drive around the country. Home minister Rajnath Singh cleaned the railway station in Lucknow, petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan participated in Bhubaneshwar while minister for water resources, river development and Ganga rejuvenation participated in Jhansi. All government officials have also taken a pledge to volunteer 2 hours a week towards cleanliness.

“Clean India is a great initiative that has benefits that would have an effect on issues related to health and water. This won’t be a one-day campaign," said actor Aamir Khan, who was also present on the dais with Modi for the pledge.

“We have seen a great response from the private sector, state chief ministers and governors. Through their support, we are confident that this campaign will sustain itself," said minister for urban development Venkaiah Naidu.

Calling upon all Indians to get involved in the Swachh Bharat Mission, President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday said the government alone cannot do it without people’s involvement.

Flagging off the mission in Birbhum district, Mukherjee called upon the people to get themselves involved in the mission of making India clean saying that it is not possible for the government alone to accomplish the tasks of eradication of illiteracy, bringing cleanliness, keeping the environment green and maintaining ecological and environmental balance. In order to attain these goals, involvement of the larger and the responsible sections of the society along with the government is very much necessary, he said.

The cabinet committee on economic affairs had last week approved the Swachh Bharat Mission for a period of five years. The urban component of the mission will be implemented in 4,041 towns. The total cost of the urban campaign will be Rs62,009 crore of which the union government will contribute Rs14,620 crore and the rest will be mobilized from other sources including non-state entities. The ministry of drinking water and sanitation will spend an amount of Rs1.34 trillion for the construction of 111.1 milllion toilets across the country. The cabinet had last month also merged the ‘Nirmal Bharat Abhiyaan’, a campaign for rural sanitation with the Swachh Bharat Mission.

The government is also inviting the private sector to take up these initiatives as a part of their corporate sector responsibility to help achieve a clean India that is open defecation free.

PTI contributed to this story.

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Updated: 02 Oct 2014, 10:20 PM IST
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