New delhi: It’s been a clean-up week in central government offices with cobwebs being cleaned up, corridor clutter removed, old furniture discarded or overhauled, and office environs spruced up, tidied and polished like never before.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will now symbolically wield a broom and reach out to all Indians to make cleanliness a mass movement by launching the Swatchh Bharat Abhiyan or Clean India Mission.
Its launch scheduled for October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, has a lot of significance as Father of the Nation had a penchant for cleanliness in his personal habits and sought to promote it in his environs in every way. Modi intends to involve every citizen in the task of cleanliness.
India fares poorly in access to toilets, especially in its semi-urban and rural areas, while its urban areas face problems related to hygiene and poor sanitation standards. Garbage disposal and hygiene standards in many commercial establishments leave much to be desired.
According to Census 2011, only 32.70 percent of rural households had access to toilets.
According to a UN report released this year, India continues to have the largest number of people in the world defecating in the open.
Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of Sulabh Sanitation and Social Reform Movement, said Indians were clean as individuals but had “nasty habits” as a community in matters of sanitation.
“People spit betel juice, throw waste on roads, women at times throw household waste near their homes, shopkeepers dump garbage on roads after closing their establishments,” Pathak said.