WHY SWACHH BHARAT MOVING AT SNAIL’S PACE ?
Immediately on coming to power , Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally committed himself to the goal of achieving clean India (Swachh bharat) and he demonstrated his commitment by taking the broom stick himself and cleaning the garbage. He has done this on several occasions at various places during the last three years.
Modi government has announced that it has built toilets in rural areas all over the country and in the last three years, the number of toilets have gone up by 320%. Number of toilets constructed in 2012-13 was 49.59 lakhs and in 2016-17, the number of toilets constructed was as high as 209 lakhs.
While no one would dispute the above figures, the fact is that even after three years of launching the movement by Modi government , India still remains largely unclean with accumulated garbage seen everywhere and the garbage being burnt in dump yards raising huge smoke and unhealthy conditions. While Mr. Modi is certainly doing his level best to promote cleanliness consciousness amongst Indians, who are not traditionally known for keeping the surroundings clean, one should not blame the Modi government for the present state of affairs.
Approach of Modi government :
The continued unclean conditions is not due to Modi government but inspite of it.
There are only two ways of implementing clean India campaign. One is by persuasion and another is by coercion. The approach of coercion is ruled out in a democratic country like India. Obviously, Mr. Modi has been trying to persuade the people and it is not providing the desired results.
Not people’s movement :
The fact is that clean India campaign has not become a people’s movement. Mr. Modi tried to make it a people’s movement by giving high publicity, launching special awareness campaign and inviting the so called celebrities to propagate the scheme. In typical style that they are known for, the so called celebrities swept in public places for a few minutes in front of television camera, made a few speeches and then disappeared.
Lack of enthusiasm amongst local bodies :
Of course, the central government by itself cannot achieve such extremely tough challenge in the absence of active cooperation from state governments and local bodies like municipalities and panchayats. Several crores of rupees have been given by central government to the state governments to achieve Swachh bharat and special fund is being raised in the name of Swachh bharat cess. The local governments, packed largely by corrupt and inefficient politicians, do not share the commitment of Mr.Modi to make India clean.
Toilet as kitchen :
While toilets are being constructed in rural areas, it is reported that atleast some of them are used as kitchen and store rooms rather than toilets, as some rural folks are not used to have toilets within their house. The government is yet to investigate this observation and declare as to what extent it is a fact.
Poor maintenance :
Several toilets constructed in urban cities and rural areas in public places are not being used , as they are being so poorly maintained by the local bodies, which seem to think that their job is over simply by spending the allotted money and completing the toilet construction and sometimes with inaugural function.
Inadequate technology initiatives :
To achieve success in clean India campaign, it is also necessary that project schemes should be implemented to dispose garbage and waste in healthy manner or put them to productive use for production of value added derivative products or recycle them.
While some initiatives have been taken, the technology practices are still to be developed adequately for Indian conditions. Should we not blame the scientific and technology institutions for this lapse
People should be blamed :
All said and done, it has not become a people’s movement. This is evident from the fact that people still urinate in public places without shame, spit in the work places and smoke in public places with total lack of concern for others. One can see even so called educated persons getting down from the car , urinating in public place and then driving away.
Should we blame Mr. Modi for such conditions or should we blame the people and the local governments, which do not punish the offenders.
As far as Swachh bharat is concerned, Mr.Modi has given the needed thrust but the country men, by and large ,are not responding.