Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ or the ‘Clean India Mission’ is India’s biggest cleanliness campaign that aims to accomplish the vision of “Clean India” by 2 October 2019 coinciding with Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary. The campaign was launched by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi on 2 October 2014 at Rajghat, where he picked up a broom and cleaned up a road.
The Mission is not just about cleaning up roads but about developing a cleaner and healthier lifestyle across India. It includes specific objectives such as construction of household and communities toilets, better waste management practices, capacity building of government departments to facilitate this mission along with empowering the masses with information as well as education.
The five year Mission is expected to cost the public purse $10 billion with contributions from both the central and state governments (75:25 respectively and 90:10 for N. Eastern and special category states) along with expected contributions from corporates as well as individual philanthropists. The Government of India has set up a Swachh Bharat Kosh (SBK) to facilitate the process of donation (http://finmin.nic.in/the_ministry/dept_expenditure/swachhbharat/howtodonate.asp)
The Swachhta Pledge, part of the mission, asks those committed to the cause to devote 100 hours per year in voluntary work for cleanliness. Additionally, it asks individuals to encourage 100 other persons to take the pledge for a ‘Clean India.
The socio-economic impact of Swacch Bharat is expected to be far wider than just the investment and the donations. As Manoj Ladwa, Publisher and CEO of India Inc., recently wrote the “scheme to build millions of toilets across both urban and rural India is actually a disguised stimulus package. Over the next five years, the government and the private sector will spend about $23 billion on this scheme, thus, setting in motion a construction boom that will reverberate across scores of industries that will supply bricks, cement, steel, sanitary ware, plumbing and other raw materials.” Assuming a very low multiplier effect of $3 per $1 invested, this scheme to build toilets would add around $70 billion to India’s GDP over the next 5 years.
However, it’s not only just about economics – having toilets in households especially in rural India would also improve upon the safety and security of women, which in itself is a worthwhile cause to pursue as is the intended effect of lower health expenditures through improved public health across India.
The Government cannot do it alone – it needs help from the entire Global Indian community to help make India clean in all sense of the word. An ambitious goal that can only be achieved with your financial help and service to India. Come join the pledge and find out more at Pravasi Bhartiya Divas 2015 ……..