‘Govt’s ‘Clean India’ Programme Has Evolved Into People’s Movement’

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New Delhi: Delivering his 33rd ‘Mann ki Baat’ address to the nation on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India is progressing steadily but surely towards achieving the dream of being open-defecation free.

Expressing his happiness over the popularity of his government’s ‘Clean India’ programme, he said that the “Swachch Bharat” campaign was no longer a government initiative, but had evolved into a people’s movement.

Quantifying his claim, Prime Minister Modi cited two examples – one from Mubarakpur Village in Uttar Pradesh, and the other from Andhra Pradesh’s Vijayanagaram district – both of which clearly signalled that Indians are determined to make their nation open defecation free.

“During Ramzan, a shining example emerged from Bijnaur’s Mubarakpur village in Uttar Pradesh. This small village has around three-and-a-half thousand Muslim families. Muslims are in majority in this village. This Ramzan, they decided to build toilets in the village. An official grant of Rs. 17 lakh was given to the village for this purpose. You will be pleasantly surprised to know that the Muslim brethren of the village returned this grant and said they will build their toilets through their efforts and money. They said the 17 lakh rupee grant may be used for some other purposes. I congratulate the people of Mubarakpur,” Modi said.

He apprised his listeners of five states, namely Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Uttarakhand and Haryana of the fact that these areas have become open defecation free (ODF).

The second example that the Prime Minister cited was from Andhra Pradesh’s Vijayanagaram district, where the administration, with the help of people, undertook the task of building 10,000 toilets in 71 village panchayats.

“I want to share an excellent example. This is concerned with the Vijayanagaram district of Andhra Pradesh. The administration, took up a major task of constructing toilets with the people’s support. From 6 a.m. on March 10 to 10 a.m. on March 14, a 100-hour non-stop mission was launched. The target was to build 10,000 toilets in 71 village panchayats in those 100 hours, and, you will be pleased to know that the administration and the people were able to accomplish this mission. I congratulate the people and the local administration. With your hard work, you have set a shining example before others,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that sustained efforts are required to bring about even a small change.

“Whether individually, or as a society, an achievement requires hard work. Sustained efforts are required to bring about even a small change. Habits take a long time to change. As bad writing takes a lot of time to change, similar is the case with cleanliness. Habits become a part of our nature. Sustained efforts are required to remove them,” he said.

Since the time Prime Minister Modi came into power in May 2014, he has been batting for an open defecation free India, especially in the rural parts.

During his first Independence Day speech on August 15, 2014, Modi called on the people of the country to join up for the mission of “Clean India”.