PM launches cleanliness campaign

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the “Swachhata Hi Seva” (“cleanliness is service”) campaign on Saturday, and took up a broom to clean a school named after Dalit icon B.R. Ambedkar. Union Ministers and BJP leaders and workers participated in similar exercises across the country. In a nearly two-hour video interaction with people from across the country, including religious leaders, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and noted personalities such as Amitabh Bachchan and Ratan Tata, Mr. Modi said the sanitation coverage in India had increased from 40% to over 90% in the four years of the “Swachh Bharat” (Clean India) project. He said few would have thought that nine crore toilets would be built and 4.5 lakh villages declared free of open defecation in four years. He launched the “cleanliness is service” exercise to push for greater public participation in one of his government’s centrepiece programmes launched on October 2, 2015. It will continue till Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary next month. All sections of society and every part of the country had joined the cleanliness drive, he said, exhorting people to rededicate themselves to fulfilling Gandhiji’s dream of a clean India. “Had anybody imagined that more than 450 districts would be open-defecation-free (ODF) in four years or that 20 States and Union Territories would be open-defecation-free in four years,” he said. Mr. Adityanath said Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous and among the most poor States, would be ODF by October 2.

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