Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
02-October-2014 18:10 IST
Swachh Bharat inextricably linked to Swasth Bharat

Dr Harsh Vardhan: Cleanliness=Healthiness= Savings on pocket

Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Health Minister, has called upon citizens to view the Prime Minister’s revolutionary initiative, “Swacch Bharat Abhiyan”, as a blessing in disguise.

“Mahatma Gandhi had said cleanliness is next to Godliness. I say cleanliness and Godliness add up to the biggest dividend –good health. Most of our common diseases find it impossible to thrive in clean surroundings. If we succeed in achieving this revolution, people’s expenditure on medical treatment will be considerably reduced, and so they can use their savings for better things,” he remarked.

He thanked Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, for placing unprecedented emphasis on cleanliness. The image of the country has got eroded over the years because India had become synonymous with filthy cities, garbage pileups, unclean toilets and other ungainly sights which bred a host of communicable diseases, the Health Minister said. Now, every Indian feels aroused to do something to change this reality, he added.

Dr Harsh Vardhan announced that on October 9 he would persuade the health secretaries of all states to implement “Swacch Bharat” in their respective states. The meeting will also deliberate on the contours of a new National Health Policy.

Dr Harsh Vardhan noted that the launch of “Swacch Bharat” coincided with the 20th anniversary of the first Pulse Polio campaign which he had initiated in Delhi on October 2, 1994.

He recalled, “Back then many people had been pessimistic about our national ability to do anything noble on a mass scale. But they had been surprised when people from all walks of life came forward to participate. Eventually India succeeded in becoming polio free.”

The Minister, who participated in the India Gate oath taking ceremony led by the Prime Minister, later went to New Delhi Railway Station with Mr D.V. Sadananda Gowda, Union Railway Minister, to inspect the improvements to public hygiene envisioned at the capital’s largest public facility. More than 500,000 footfalls are estimated at the station which handles 300 trains daily.

“I take keen interest in the state of cleanliness of the capital’s railway stations because I am from Delhi myself and this station falls within my constituency. I was satisfied with the resolve of the Railway staff to keep New Delhi Railway Station free of pestilence and I assured the Minister of Railways that I will follow up on the cleanliness drive which he has initiated and keep him posted of its progress. He shall receive full cooperation from the Health Ministry in the endeavour,” Dr Harsh Vardhan said.

The Minister next went to Lady Hardinge Hospital in the capital on a surprise inspection. Not even the Medical Superintendant was given prior information. He found that the hospital’s authorities had organised the launch of the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan earlier in the day. Dr Harsh Vardhan toured the out-patient department and a few wards. He interacted with the patients, their relatives, and doctors and nurses on duty.

Dr Harsh Vardhan wielded the broom at New Delhi Railway Station and Lady Hardinge Hospital in symbol of his commitment to Swacch Bharat Abhiyan.

The entire staff of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare at Nirman Bhawan, New Delhi, turned out in white t-shirts and caps with the “Swacch Bharat” message printed on them. Dr Harsh Vardhan read out the oath to them and later inspected all the departments, offices and toilets. He made many suggestions for further improvements as well as some recommendations for civil works which were duly noted. The Union Health Secretary, Mr Lov Verma, was present on the occasion, alongwith other senior officers of the Ministry.

Dr Harsh Vardhan said on the occasion, “I want you all to develop the killer instinct when it comes to preserving neatness and preventing filth. We in the Health Ministry carry the burden of people’s expectations over the success of this noble mission. There can be no public hygiene if we don’t maintain cleanliness ourselves.”