Swachh Bharat Campaign must go beyond the confines of ‘Abhiyan’

 

ON GANDHI JAYANTI LAST YEAR (OCT 2, 2014), Swachh Bharat (Clean India) campaign was launched with much fanfare and promise. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that by 2019, coinciding with Mahatama Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary, the objectives of the campaign would be met and country would be hygienic , clean and less burdened with disease. All government departments have been told to integrate the theme of Swachh Bharat with media campaigns be it advertisements or events. However, six months into its launch, Swachh Bharat, has not been any success. Dirt, waste and clutter, all are in a state of status quo, both  in terms of  how these were disposed off and collected. The citizen involvement has not risen outside social media.  This happens to most government programs.

The PM did well to link it with disease. But waste management also needs to seen as an environment and energy issue. A technology mission involving education institutions of all types everywhere in clusters should run concurrent to the cleanliness drive.  You have to galvanize children to the last mile, show them how to deal with waste. The kind of population density and scarce land resources we have, calls for special solutions. You need to launch PhD programs and link pollution boards, municipalities to research programs. Organize fairs, contests, hold musical concerts, may be a national festival. The campaign has to be itched on the minds and also made a tangible and rewarding group activity.