PM launches 'cleanliness is service" campaign

PM launches 'cleanliness is service" campaign

Prime Minister Narendra Modi undertakes a cleanliness drive under 'Swachhta Hi Sewa' campaign in the premises of Baba Sahib Ambedkar Higher Secondary School at Paharganj, New Delhi, on Saturday. PTI

As the “Swachchata” campaign of Modi government completed four years, the prime minister on Saturday launched "Swachhata Hi Seva” (cleanliness is service) campaign, taking out a broom and cleaning the Higher Secondary School in Delhi's Paharganj named after B R Ambedkar.

The campaign will continue till Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary on October 2.

Later, Modi through a video- conference interacted with eminent citizens including Amitabh Bachchan and Ratan Tata over the issue.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley sought to link toilet construction with honour recalling that toilets in several parts of India have been named “Izzat Ghar”.

Observing that hygiene in the utilisation of the toilet is also a preventive healthcare scheme, Jaitley said global experts believe that the Swachch Bharat Mission will have saved over three-lakh lives in the country by the time the country becomes ‘open-defecation free’ in 2019.

“This is for the first time that the subject matter in the toilet construction campaign has taken central stage of the national agenda. It has become a subject matter of popular discussion,” he said.

Prime Minister Modi reached the venue, Baba Saheb Ambedkar Higher Secondary School, at Paharganj taking a metro ride from Lok Kalyan Marg to drive home the message of austerity.

The symbolism of the venue was not lost.

Launching the campaign, he said all sections of society and every part of the country have joined the cleanliness drive.

He noted that few would have thought that nine-crore toilets would be built and 4.5-lakh villages declared 'open defecation free' in four years.

Modi hailed Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and many religious heads for the 'Swachchata' work carried out by them and highlighted that sanitation coverage in India has increased to over 90%  from 40% in four years..

"Had anybody imagined that more than 450 districts would be open defecation free (ODF) in four years or that 20 states and Union Territories would be open defecation free in four years," he said adding that his government was working for "waste to wealth" and sought everybody's contribution to realise this.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox