New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ‘Swachhata Hi Seva Movement’ on Saturday, urging Indians to actively participate in the cleanliness mission.
Joined by superstar Amitabh Bachchan and industry doyen Ratan Tata in an interaction streamed live on the Narendra Modi app, the PM urged all Indians to take the Clean India pledge.
“Indians in every part of the country should take Swachhata Abhiyan forward. Swachhata coverage is 90% now. This has happened in last four years; around 9 crore toilets have been constructed. The credit goes to the people of India as the government couldn’t have done this alone,” he said.
Invoking Mahatma Gandhi ahead of Gandhi Jayanti, Modi said, “From today till October 2, let us rededicate ourselves towards fulfilling Bapu’s dream of a Clean India.”
Hailing the contribution of women in the cleanliness movement, the PM said, “The contribution of India’s nari shakti (women power) in the Swachh Bharat (clean India) mission is immense.”
“Youngsters are ambassadors of social change. The way they have furthered the message of cleanliness is commendable. The youth are at the forefront of a positive change in India,” Modi said while interacting with the students of Assam via his NaMo App.
Later, the PM took part in a cleanliness drive in the premises of Baba Sahib Ambedkar Higher Secondary School in Paharganj.
On the eve of the mission’s launch, Modi had written to almost 2,000 citizens from different walks of life, inviting them to be a part of the cleanliness drive.
Those invited by the prime minister include former judges, retired government officials, winners of gallantry awards, and CWG and Asian Games medallists. Chief ministers and deputy chief ministers of all states, governors and lieutenant governors also received personalised letters.
In his letter, the prime minister described the Swachh Bharat Mission as a mass movement that has ushered in a ‘swachhata revolution’ across India. He said more than 90 per cent Indians have access to toilet, as compared to less than 40 per cent in 2014. Over 4.25 lakh villages, 430 districts, 2800 cities/towns, and 19 states and UTs have been declared open-defecation free.
The Swachhata Hi Seva Mission’ has already enlisted support of eminent citizens such as Sri Sri Ravi Shankari, Akshay Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan and others.
As part of an elaborate launch event for the fortnight-long movement, the prime minister interacted with a cross-section of people from 18 locations across the country via video conferencing on Saturday.
The people with whom the PM interacted include school children, jawans, spiritual leaders, members of milk and agricultural cooperatives, media persons, local government representatives, railway employees, Self Help Groups, and ‘Swachhagrahis’.
The ‘Swachhata Hi Seva’ movement, which aims at generating greater public participation towards Swachhta, is being organised in the run-up to the fourth anniversary of the Swachh Bharat Mission, on October 2, 2018, which will also mark the commencement of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary celebrations.