Wielding the broom, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched the country’s biggest-ever cleanliness drive that is expected to cost over Rs 62,000 crore, asserting that the “Swachh Bharat” mission is “beyond politics” and inspired by patriotism.
“I am not talking politics…This is beyond politics. All the governments in this country have made one or the other effort to do this work. Several political, social and cultural organisations have made efforts in this direction. I greet all those, who have worked,” Modi said in his 25-minute address at Rajpath, where he formally kicked off the five-year-long campaign that will cover 4,041 statutory towns.
Administering a pledge to people to make India clean, he said that this task is not the responsibility only of ‘safai karamcharis’ or the government but of 125 crore Indians.
He said that today’s campaign should not be seen as a mere photo opportunity.
In an event marked by fervour and symbolism, the Prime Minister earlier wielded a broom and swept a pavement in Valmiki Basti, a colony of sanitation workers here.
The urban component of the mission is proposed to be implemented over five years starting from October 2, 2014 in all 4,041 statutory towns. The total expected cost of the programme is Rs 62,009 crore, out of which the proposed central assistance will be of Rs 14,623 crore.
The Cabinet had last month decided to merge the ‘Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan’, a campaign for rural sanitation with ‘Swachh Bharat’ Mission.