The Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan at Rajpath asking citizens to devote at least 100 hours every year (two hours every week) to cleanliness.
The Prime Minister paid homage to two great sons of Mother India, Mahatma Gandhi and former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, on their birth anniversary. Narender Modi recalled how the nation`s farmers had responded to Shastri`s call of “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan,” and made India self-sufficient in food security. He said that out of Gandhiji`s two dreams – Quit India, and Clean India, the people had helped to ensure that the first became a reality. However, the second dream – Clean India – still remained unfulfilled.
The Prime Minister said it was our social responsibility as citizens of India to help fulfill Gandhiji`s vision of Clean India, by his 150th birth anniversary in 2019.
The Prime Minister also applauded and appreciated the work done by all previous Governments and social, religious and cultural organizations towards cleanliness. He repeatedly emphasized that the work of cleaning India cannot be done by one person, or by Government functionaries alone – it has to be done by 125 crore people, who are sons and daughters of Mother India. He said the work of Swachh Bharat should become a mass movement, and people should neither litter, nor let others litter (Na Gandagi Karenge, Na Karne Denge).
The Prime Minister said that according to the World Health Organization, an average of Rs. 6500 per person was lost in India due to lack of cleanliness and hygiene. He said Swachh Bharat would therefore make a significant impact on public health, and in safeguarding income of the poor, ultimately contributing to the national economy. He exhorted people to devote 100 hours every year towards the cause of cleanliness. The Prime Minister also emphasized the importance of building toilets. He said sanitation should not be seen as a political tool, but should only be connected to patriotism (rashtrabhakti) and commitment to public health.
The Prime Minister said he had invited nine public figures: Mridula Sinha, Sachin Tendulkar, Baba Ramdev, Shashi Tharoor, Anil Ambani, Kamal Hasan, Salman Khan, Priyanka Chopra and Team Tarak Mehta ka Oolta Chashma – to make a contribution towards Swachh Bharat, share the same on social media, and invite nine other people to do the same, hence forming a chain. He urged people to share their contributions on social media using the hash-tag #MyCleanIndia.
The Prime Minister congratulated the winners of the crowdsourcing contests for logo and tagline of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan – Anant from Maharashtra and Bhagyashree from Gujarat. The tag-line is “Ek Kadam Swachhta Ki Ore” The Prime Minister was joined by noted film actor Aamir Khan on stage, as he administered the Swachhta Shapath (Cleanliness Pledge) to the large assembled gathering. Union Ministers Venkaiah Naidu and Nitin Gadkari also addressed the gathering.
Earlier, the Prime Minister visited Rajghat and Vijay Ghat to offer floral tributes to two great sons of India, Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri, on their birth anniversary. He later visited the Valmiki Basti, where Gandhiji had once stayed, and initiated a cleanliness drive there. The Prime Minister also paid a surprise visit to the Mandir Marg police station in New Delhi. He himself picked up a broom to clean dirt. He later exhorted police officials to maintain cleanliness.