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Swachh bharat abhiyan: ‘It is not mandatory for govt employees to participate’

Sanitation department not keeping track of participation, two hours weekly and 100 hours a month goes only on paper, say state officials.

Written by Nisha Nambiar | Pune | Updated: December 12, 2015 12:41:55 am

The ambitious Swacch Bharat Abhiyan which required the participation of government employees has no monitoring unit, with the entire operation being ‘voluntary’ on the part of employees. In October 2014, the Prime Minister had announced that government employees too will dedicate two hours weekly and 100 hours a month towards the programme for the next five years. However, even as the proposal was announced and government employees had made ambitious pledges about devoting the dedicated hours, with no monitoring system in place, the entire ‘movement’ seems to be only on paper.

Officials from the department who monitor the programme said that they have only figures for the month of October on the number of officials who have pledged, but they do not have any implementation schedule for these officials. “With this being not mandatory, we have no monitoring system in place,” said officials. According to the department, officials had pledged weekly once, once in 15 days, once monthly and even decided the days they would carry out but without a monitoring unit, there is no tracking system for these officials.

The scheme is ambitious but since it is not “mandatory”, we can only urge officials to participate and cannot initiate any punitive action against them, said a senior rural and sanitation department official. The officials were asked to file a daily status report when it was announced by the Prime Minister’s Office but this has not been done. “They were to give details on the kind of cleanliness drive and how the place was before cleaning, but none of it has been filed by us,” said officials.

The announcement had also stated that all institutions were asked to file reports and that too was not coming in from the various departments. “We have the reports only for the month of October this year which has seen each district giving a list of officials from various departments when they would want to carry out the Shramdaan. However, we have no tracking system on whether they are doing it or not,” said officials.

In a letter dated September 23, 2014, addressed to all the state chief secretaries, the Secretary of Drinking Water and Sanitation had asked them to fill up the Action Plan for Swachh Bharat. The plan was to be given under three headings: Involvement of key government functionaries, public bodies and citizens right up to the bottom of the pyramid that includes rural areas and housing societies; Action to be taken (in the form of illustrative list) at homes, public places, markets, roads, gardens, malls, hospitals, offices, schools, corporates, banks, bus and railway stations and police stations; and address and appeal through activities such as on media platforms by governors and Chief Ministers, rallies, walkathons, marathons, competitions and quizzes, dramas, seminars and social gatherings.

All this requires to be uploaded with photographs of before and after cleanliness event on Swachh Bharat Abhiyan sites on MyGov, Twitter and Facebook. This too is a non-starter in the state.

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