Swachh Bharat – A mass movement for cleaner India
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
The “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” campaign was kick-started on 2nd October 2014 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s, who led from the forefront wielding a broom to make India a clean and open defecation free (ODF) nation by the year 2019. He invited all the Indians to devote 100 hours to cleaning their surroundings.
The most important aspect of the clean India drive is to build Toilets for rural households and sanitation complexes for girls and boys in the schools. The campaign has already got overwhelming support from corporate houses as part of CSR as well as celebrities joining in to make it a mass movement. As per Census 2011, 113 million households do not have toilets, which means nearly 50% of households in India still defecate in the open being exposed to healthcare challenges, harassment, and shame. Girl dropout ratio from schools in rural India after Class V is 50%, where lack of separate toilet facility for girls in government schools is the central de-motivating factor amongst others for dropping out.
With the extensive campaign, the importance of toilets has been highlighted and CSR initiatives are being planned on building toilets in schools for girls. In this euphoria of creating toilets, it is of utmost importance to look towards the sustainability of the initiative otherwise the momentum gained would yield no result and the toilets would end up being a storeroom.
‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is not just about cleanliness. It is also about health care. Keeping our surroundings clean and stopping open defecation is the simplest measure of avoiding the spread of communicable diseases‘ Goutham Arali, district Swachh Bharat Mission coordinator, has said.