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Modi wields broom, vows to sweep India clean by 2019
Launches Swachh Bharat mission, says initiative not inspired by politics
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

The pledge

I will devote 100 hours per year — that is two hours per week — to voluntary work for cleanliness. I will neither litter nor let others litter. I will initiate the quest for cleanliness with myself, my family, my locality, my village and my work place. I believe that the countries of the world that appear clean are so because their citizens don't indulge in littering nor do they allow it to happen. With this firm belief, I will propagate the message of Swachh Bharat Mission in villages and towns.

Rs 20 lakh for each village

Rural Development, Drinking Water and Sanitation Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday announced Rs 20 lakh for each village per annum to achieve the goal of Swachh Bharat by October 2, 2019.

Make use of social media: PM

The PM asked everyone to make use of social media, urging people to upload pictures and videos of dirty places and discuss how they can be cleaned. Modi asked people to use MyGov, a mobile application, as well as Facebook and Twitter to promote the nationwide campaign.

The 5-yr mission

The urban component of the mission is proposed to be implemented over five years starting from October 2, 2014, in all 4,041 statutory towns. The Cabinet has merged the "Nirmal Bharat Abhiyaan" a campaign for rural sanitation with the Swachh Bharat Mission.

New Delhi, October 2
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched the country's biggest-ever cleanliness drive — Swachh Bharat — asking citizens to devote at least 100 hours every year (two hours every week) to cleanliness.

He said the mission was inspired by patriotism and not politics. He also vowed to make India clean by 2019.

The PM administered a pledge of cleanliness to those who joined him at Rajpath and asked them to spread the message among 100 other persons. "Main na gandagi karonga, na kisi aur ko karne doonga (I will neither litter nor let anyone else litter), the PM promised, urging everyone to take the oath.

He invited Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, industrialist Anil Ambani, film stars Salman Khan, Kamal Haasan and Priyanka Chopra, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, Goa Governor Mridula Sinha, yoga guru Ram Dev and the team of TV serial “Tarak Mehta Ka Ulta Chashma”, to join the campaign. Most of these personalities accepted the PM's invitation. Actor Aamir Khan also joined Modi in taking the pledge.

Seeking the blessings of Mahatma Gandhi and former PM Lal Bahadur Shastri, Modi said his cleanliness pitch was inspired purely by patriotism and not politics as his critics would like to believe.

Facing criticism from opponents on his government taking credit for others' achievement, Modi made it a point to mention efforts made by previous governments, politicians, social and cultural organisations in this direction. He countered Congress's criticism that his government behaved as if everything happened only after he came to power by making a mention of the party's frontal organisation - the Sewa Dal.

The PM said he had congratulated all governments when he spoke from the ramparts of the Red Fort. He said: "Even today from this stage, I greet and salute all governments - Central and state - municipal bodies, social organisations, leaders from Sarvodaya and workers of the Sewa Dal who have worked in this direction. I launch this programme with their blessings."

"This is beyond politics. This is inspired by patriotism and not politics. We do not have to do this with an eye on politics... I say that with a clean heart... If we paint this again with a brush of politics, we will again do a disservice to Mother India," he said.

Highlighting the Mahatma's thrust on cleanliness, Modi said his unfulfilled dream of a clean India should be accomplished by his 150th birth anniversary in 2019. The task of keeping India clean was not the responsibility of safai karamcharis or the governments, but all 125 crore Indians, he said.

Leading from the front, he swept a pavement in Valmiki Basti - a colony of sanitation workers in the national capital. He also participated in a walkathon.

On his way to Valmiki Basti, the PM stopped at the Mandir Marg police station in New Delhi. He picked up a broom to clean the surroundings. Embarrassed, police officers rushed on the spot and joined the PM. Modi later exhorted them to maintain cleanliness.





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