Swachh Bharat Mission is an initiative taken by the NDA government to clean the roads, streets and improve the infrastructure of the country. Launched on October 2, 2014 by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself when he cleaned the road in Delhi, this campaign is one of the major campaigns running in the country, today. The main aim is to improve the sanitation of the country by making toilets and otherwise facilitating the proper disposal of solid waste. Under this campaign the government has taken up the challenge of constructing 12 crore toilets across the country and have allotted ₹ 1.96 lakh crores for the same.
We believe it is fairly early to comment on the effectiveness of the mission as the mission started only a year ago and will continue till at least 2019. The government of the country is very enthusiastic regarding this particular mission, but the problem is in implementing it on a nation-wide level. The campaign has been in the news for various reasons- good and bad, in the past. In such an event it becomes really difficult to gauge if this mission is a real campaign or just a sham.
Here are a few reasons why we are unsure of what is happening with the mission –
What is the top priority?
Scaled up from UPA’s Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan, Swachh Bharat mission’s main aim has remained to meet the construction goal, the surveys that were supposed to happen to monitor the use of the toilets aren’t happening. Toilets are being constructed but the imparting of education and counselling regarding the use and need of toilets hasn’t covered much area. From Lucknow to Bikaner to Chhattisgarh or Odisha and Karnataka, the change is there, but the problem of people still going to defecate in the open, continues. The need of the hour is to educate the people more than constructing toilets.
Swachh Bharat nothing but a façade?
Around November last year, the news of Delhi BJP unit having staged the Swachh Bharat mission surfaced. Many politicians and other dignitaries were seen holding the broom acting like responsible citizens, but the truth behind the matter was something else. Apparently, the road chosen for the photo op was already clean and was made dirty on purpose only so that the politicians could pose.
Will brooming suffice?
Swachh in every sense of the word means clean and hygienic, hence, only brooming and sweeping will not suffice. With millions of practices that pollute our environment every single day we cannot afford to overlook other sources of pollution and keep constructing toilets. The factories pollute the water and air by letting out the smoke and chemical effluents into the air and water, religious practices pollute the air and water by smoke and immersing of idols etc, and various other ways which Indians find every single day to pollute the environment in a better way, cannot be overlooked.
The borderline is that if we want a swachh Bharat, then the government and the Citizens should work towards it together. It’s high time we surpassed the blame games and criticism and work towards a cleaner nation. It is our responsibility and we need to pull up our socks and work on it. I sincerely hope that by 2019 we make some headway with the Swachh Bharat mission.