Ministry of Jal Shakti

PM dedicates a Swachh Bharat to Bapu and the people of India

Posted On: 03 OCT 2019 10:59AM by PIB Delhi

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, dedicated a Swachh Bharat India to the people of India and the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi on 2 October, 2019.

Addressing 20,000 Swachhagrahis and Sarpanches assembled from all over the country at a massive public event at the Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, the Prime Minister said that the number of people practicing open defecation in India has gone down from 600 million in 2014, to negligible today, through an intensive behaviour change programme under the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). He said that by alleviating 60% of the world’s share of people defecating in the open, India has significantly contributed to the global achievement of SDG 6.

He said that a Clean and Open Defecation Free (ODF) India on 2nd October 2019 was the most befitting tribute possible to give to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary. He saluted the work done by lakhs of Swachhagrahis in response to the Mission's clarion call for making Swachhata a jan andolan, a people’s movement and physically bowed to the gathering to express his gratitude.

The Prime Minister said that it was symbolic that the event was happening at Sabarmati Riverfront because it was at Sabarmati Ashram that Bapu gave life to both, the Satyagraha and the Swachhagraha. In that sense, he said that the success of Swachhagraha was history repeating itself, much like the success of Satyagraha as both were based on the tenets of people's participation.

The Prime Minister underscored that the accomplishment was just a step in the direction of Swachh Bharat, which will be a continuous process with focus on sustaining the gains made so far and ensuring that no one is left behind. He said that the Jal Jeevan Mission would be an important step in that direction, sharing that the government has decided to allocate Rs 3.5 lakh crores on it. He added that the people of India need to work together to curb the use of single use plastic.

The Prime Minister shared that the entire international community is now looking at India's example as a successful case study in Sanitation. He added that the Global Goalkeepers Award given to India by the Gates Foundation has put India firmly on the global map as a world leader in the domain of Sanitation.

During his welcome address on the occasion, Shri Vijay Rupani, Chief Minister of Gujarat, lauded the commitment shown by the Prime Minister to the cause of Swachhata and the leadership lent by the government to the rollout of the Mission across the country. He spoke about the positive impact the success of the Mission will have on public health, safety and dignity, setting an example for the world to emulate.

Since the inception of the program, the rural sanitation coverage of India has increased tremendously, from 39% in October 2014 to 100% in September 2019. Over 10 million household toilets have been constructed under the Mission. As a result, 35 States/Union Territories, 699 districts, and 599,963 villages have declared themselves as free from open defecation.

On the occasion, over 20,000 Sarpanches (village heads) and Swachhagrahis (village motivators) congregated in Gujarat. In the two days prior to the main event (30th Sep – 1st Oct), 20,000 participants joined the ‘Gandhi Trail’ and visited the Statue of Unity and the Dandi Salt Satyagraha Memorial in Gujarat, along with field visits to witness the State’s best practices in the water and sanitation sector.

Before addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister walked through the Swachh Bharat exhibition, launched the Swachhata Anthem and a Swachh Bharat laser film. He also released commemorative postal stamps and coins on the occasion of Bapu's 150th birth anniversary and gave eleven Swachh Bharat awards for exceptional contribution to the Mission.

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