NEW DELHI – Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the Swachh Bharat campaign launched by him three years ago has today become a “mass movement”.
“Today, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan (Clean India campaign) is no longer that of Bapu, nor that of the government or municipalities. I have no claims to make that this is the government’s achievement. In fact, this is an achievement of those Indians who seek cleanliness (Swachhagrahis),” Modi said here, on the third anniversary of the campaign.
The Prime Minister recalled how he drew criticism from all quarters when he first started the campaign three years ago. However, he said, all that was behind him and the campaign was making good progress as per the available data.
He said that India got independence through the tool of Satyagrah. Now to become the best country, India would have to adopt “swachhta” (cleanliness) as its tool.
Modi said today there was a competition between various states and cities to go higher on the cleanliness scale and there was pressure on the governments and administration in the states/cities which were lagging behind.
“An environment of positive, healthy competition has evolved and its results are visible,” Modi said.
He said “ideological revolution” or changing of mindset was also required for cleanliness.
“The development of system can’t do a thing until there is ideological revolution,” he said.
The Prime Minister further said: “Clean India won’t come true even if 1,000 Mahatma Gandhis, one lakh Narendra Modis, all CMs and governments come together… It will be done by 125 crore Indians.”
Slamming those who relieve themselves in the open, Modi said such men should learn from women who never relieve in the open even if they had an urge to when they were out.
He also stressed on building and use of toilets by all in rural and slum areas where women have to go far from their place early in the morning or after dusk to relieve and could not do it in the daylight.
Modi said due to poor hygiene, people often fell ill and ended up spending several thousand rupees on medical treatment. This cost, he said, could be saved if people made cleanliness their “dharma” (duty) and their work.
He also said that children were the biggest ambassadors of the Clean India Mission.
Modi also praised the media for supporting the Mission.
Urging people to take out some time for the Clean India Mission, he said the Indians must see their country from the eyes of the outsiders.
“On the occasion of birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri, let us devote ourselves to the nation, give primacy to cleanliness and take part in this mission,” the Prime Minister said.