THE Centre will kick off a fortnight-long sanitation campaign, “Swachhta Hi Seva”, which will include a countrywide “Shramdaan”(voluntary work) by Union Ministers, on September 15. While the campaign will be launched by President Ram Nath Kovind in Kanpur Dehat on Friday, it will end on October 2, Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary. Another “key date” is September 17, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday, which will be observed as “Seva Diwas”. Briefing the Union Council of Ministers, Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, gave a detailed presentation on Tuesday. “Do individual shramdaan for construction of toilets or any cleaning of pubic place on Seva Divas,” the Union Ministers were told. The ministers, MPs and MLAs have also been asked to mobilise celebrities, brand ambassadors, dignitaries and “ensure massive outreach” to spread the message.
On September 17, the recent Bollywood release, Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, will be telecast on Doordarshan, and gram panchayats will “organise gram sabhas” to watch the film. The film is about a woman who leaves her husband as his house does not have a toilet.
September 25, the birth anniversary of Jan Sangh icon Deen Dayal Upadhyay, will be celebrated as “Sarvatra Swachhta”, when largescale cleaning of hospitals, parks, statues, bus stops, railway stations and ponds will be taken up. And a day before Gandhi Jayanti, a massive cleanliness drive will be undertaken at tourist and public places.
All the ministries have been assigned specific tasks. For instance, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs has been told to mobilise at least Rs 1,000 crore for the Swachh Bharat Kosh. While corporate employees could be asked to undertake a cleanliness drive in identified localities, the ministry may also direct corporates to sponsor “Swachhta Hi Seva” billboards for every gram panchayat.
The Tourism Ministry has been asked to mobilise inter-faith organisations and “charismatic faith leaders with mass following” to spread the message. The Ministry of External Affairs has been told to consider adding the Swachch Bharat Mission message and logo on all new passports.
The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has been advised to contribute programmes and “Swachhta Hi Seva” branding on private news channels, FM radio, and facilitate production of a “Swachhta Hi Seva” film through DD-UNICEF. The Defence Ministry could mobilise special teams for a cleanliness drive at high altitudes, and cantonments could be declared Open Defecation Free (ODF).
Schools will also initiate a “My Clean Class” campaign.
Stating that India loses over Rs 550 crore every year in tourism earnings due to lack of sanitation, the government has listed some prominent tourist sites which will be included in its cleanliness drive — Kalighat Temple in Kolkata, India Gate in New Delhi, Rishikesh Ghat in Uttarakhand, Pushkar Temple in Rajasthan, Mahakaleshwar Temple in Madhya Pradesh, Vishnupad Temple in Gaya, Shaking Minarets in Ahmedabad, Juhu Beach in Mumbai, Charminar in Hyderabad, Velankanni Beach in Chennai, Kamakhya Temple in Assam, Kovalam Beach in Kerala, Loktak Lake in Manipur, Gopalpur on Sea in Odisha and Ita Fort in Arunachal Pradesh.
The Union ministers have been asked to “ignite” people to contribute to the campaign. The ministries have also been told to initiate innovative programmes to ensure “sanitation for poor and marginalised”.
The role of chief ministers and the activities in the states during the campaign have also been delineated.