A clean India by 2019
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday symbolically wielded a broom in Dalit colony where Mahatma Gandhi once stayed to launch a unique nationwide campaign which seeks to change Indians\' mindset vis-a-vis hygiene and clean up the country in five years.
A broom in hand, Modi launches Swachh Bharat campaign
- Exhorts people that “India can do it, the people of India can do it”
- Compares his ‘Clean India’ slogan to Mahatma’s ‘Quit India’
- Modi’s Swachh wave sweeps across the nation; lakhs take part
- Each village panchayat will get Rs.20 lakh a year: Gadkari
- The five-year drive is expected to cost exchequer Rs.2 lakh crore
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday symbolically wielded a broom in Dalit colony where Mahatma Gandhi once stayed to launch a unique nationwide campaign which seeks to change Indians' mindset vis-a-vis hygiene and clean up the country in five years.
In a spirited speech near the India Gate monument a short while later, Modi told a huge gathering that Indians had a responsibility to fulfil Gandhi's dream by ridding the country of dirt and filth by 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation. He asked Indians to make cleanliness a mass movement, urged youths to be part of the Clean India project and called upon people to use social media to share their role in making Indian cities and towns more liveable.
Modi started the day by visiting Rajghat, the Gandhi memorial, to mark the 145th birth anniversary of the Mahatma, who was a strong advocate of cleanliness. On his way to Valmiki Colony which Gandhi made his home for 214 days in 1946-47, Modi suddenly halted his car, entered the Mandir Marg police station, saw the state of cleanliness and calmly picked up the broom to sweep away fallen leaves.
After a pep talk about cleanliness to the policemen, Modi reached the Valmiki Colony, where, after visiting the Valmiki temple, Modi took up a broom and swept a small area with party colleagues and residents to symbolically launch
the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan or Clean India campaign.
He used a dust pan to put the small pile of dirt into the bin.
In his speech near India Gate where the mission was formally launched, Modi said India could change radically if the citizens imbibed discipline. "Do citizens have no role in this? We have to change this mindset," Modi said. "India can do it, the people of India can do it."
If Indians can reach Mars, they certainly can clean up the country, he said to applause from more than 5,000 school students besides people from all walks of life. "It takes time to change established mindset. I know it is a difficult task. But we have five years," he said.
He compared his slogan of "Clean India" to Mahatma Gandhi's war cry of "Quit India" during the Independence movement. The PM administered a pledge to the gathering to contribute at least two hours a week to keep their surroundings clean. Finally, followed by thousands of mainly young people, many holding cloth banners calling for a "Beautiful India", Modi walked down Rajpath to a road junction nearby.
It is for the first time government employees from the level of peons to Secretary were called to the office on 'Gandhi Jayanti', which is a national holiday, to be part of the 'Clean India' campaign. There are about 31 lakh central government employees across the country. In the states too, the event was marked by fervour and symbolism as the Chief Ministers and Governors started the drive by administering the pledge and joined students and common people in cleaning public buildings, parks, schools, railway platforms and roads.
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari announced that Rs 20 lakh per annum will be allocated to each village panchayat for the Clean India campaign. While the Urban Development Ministry will allocate Rs 62,000 crore for cleaning towns across the country, the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation will spend Rs 1.34 lakh crores for the programme.