By Manish Prabhat
Edited by, Anandita Malhotra, Senior Editor, The Indian Economist
Swachh Bharat or Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Campaign Clean India) is a national level campaign by the Government of India covering 4041 statutory towns to clean the streets, roads and infrastructure of the country.
This campaign was officially launched on 2 October 2014 at the Rajghat, New Delhi where the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, himself wielded broom and cleaned a road. The campaign is India’s biggest ever cleanliness drive and 3 million government employees and schools and colleges students of India participated in this event. The mission was started as a tree with each of the nine personalities nominated by Narendra Modi to in turn nominate nine other people and so on. It has been carried forward since then with famous people from all walks of life joining it.
The Real scenario
We have come up with a programme to bring about behavioural changes in the Indian people. India is a country where the streets are filthy and dirty, but their respective homes are all well cleaned and maintained, it is about human psychology. If the place is maintained and clean, the tendency of a visitor or person is not to make it dirty. For instance, take a walk round the ‘Central Park’ at Rajiv Chowk in New Delhi. There are thousands of visitors who come up for sight- seeing or a walk. At the end of the day, when all the visitors have gone, the place is just as clean as it is before opening of the gates in morning. Why this is so? Visitors have in mind have the positive outlook of not making the place dirty which is looking spotlessly clean and green. They simply use the dustbins placed in the park which is in sight of the people, no matter, how far they are. The case of Delhi Metro is itself a great example of cleanliness when around 2 million commuters travel through Metro trains on a daily basis. So, the mantra for the success of the programme is installing of dustbins within the sight of the people.
Secondly, the other aspect of achieving a clean India is poverty eradication. We see a lot of rag pickers in and around the city looking for different things in the dumped garbage around the city side pathways. The dumped garbage is like treasure for the poor, it is their livelihood. We cannot talk about ‘Swachh Bharat’, and ignore what happens in our country where poverty of the people is the greatest polluter.
An expert functioning municipality is needed to keep the city clean. Near the construction sites, the debris or waste is just pushed to the side of the road to save money and time. The mentality of the people is like, “Apna kaam banta, bhaad me jaye janta”. Ultimately, it will lead to traffic congestion and the same people crying about the government carelessness. Besides, blaming everything as government responsibility, we also need to rethink that India is our home and we must keep our place clean.
Manish Prabhat studies at Kirorimal College, University of Delhi. A geographer, having the desire to explore the world. He is an avid reader and loves to observe the happenings around. Loves to think on issues affecting the society when alone. Other than that he is a civil service aspirant with a hope of changing the social perspective about the needs and rights of children. He believes in respecting all rather than a particular group of people.