New Delhi: India surely needs to celebrate.PM Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced that rural India (99%) has declared itself open defecation-free. He added that it was merely a step towards realising the dream of a developed India.
‘‘Today rural India and its villages have declared themselves open-defecation free. They have used self-inspiration, self-will and co-operation to achieve this th-rough the Swachh Bharat Mission," he said, at an event near Mahatma Gandhi's Sabarmati Ash-ram in Gujarat in the presence of over 20,000 village heads. ‘‘The villages built over 10 crore toilets in a short span of time,’’ he explained.
The Prime Minister also said that Indians have shed their hesitation about talking about sanitation and it has become an integral part of their "thought-process".
‘‘From girls who demanded toilet before marriage to Bollywood, everyone contributed to the mission to make India open-defecation-free," he pointed out.
"In 60 months, we have provided toilets to over 60 crore people by constructing over 11 crore toilets. The world is amazed at our success," PM Modi, who launched the 'Swachh Bharat Mission' in 2014, said.
He further claimed the Centre's flagship sanitation scheme had created over 75 lakh jobs. ‘‘The Swachh Bharat Mission empowered women and developed their skills as masons and created over 75 lakh employment opportunities," he said.
Prime Minister Modi made his "latrines for all" pledge when he first assumed office in 2014, winning him accolades abroad - including an award last week from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The prime minister made the announcement in the presence of people associated with Gandhian institutions, high court judges, Padma awardees, students, educationists and village-level sanitation workers.
SINGLE-USE PLATIC: PM Modi also said that his government would achieve its target of single-use plastic-free India by 2022. "Sanitation, conservation of environment and animals, all these things were dear to Gandhi ji," said the prime minister. "Plastic is a major threat to all of them. So, we have to achieve the goal to eradicate 'single-use plastic' from the country by the year 2022."