Swachhata Hi Seva 2023: A Nationwide Cleanliness Campaign Set to Begin
Swachhata Hi Seva 2023: A Nationwide Cleanliness Campaign Set to Begin

NEW DELHI: The 'Cleanliness Through Service Campaign' or 'Jan Andolan' is reaching its grand finale on October 1st with an event called 'One Date, One Hour, Together' – a resounding call from the Prime Minister for one hour of citizen-led voluntary work to promote cleanliness.

The entire nation is presently immersed in the two-week-long festival of cleanliness known as the 2023 'Garbage-Free India' edition of the Swachhata Hi Seva (SHS) campaign. With remarkable unity and determination, inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's clarion call for cleanliness, more than 320 million people have joined in this nationwide endeavor over the past two weeks. That averages to an impressive 2.3 million participants per day across the country. This 'Jan Andolan' has yielded significant results for the nation, including the declaration of 75% of India's villages as ODF Plus, signifying the sustained Open Defecation Free status of these villages and improved waste management practices. It also underscores the unwavering commitment of both communities and the government to sanitation and cleanliness.

This year's campaign has seen massive participation, with over 320 million individuals from all corners of the country joining in just 14 days, averaging around 2.3 million participants per day. Among them, nearly 150 million citizens actively engaged in voluntary labor for 368,000 SBM activities. These efforts encompassed cleaning nearly 5,300 beaches, rejuvenating 4,300 riverbanks and waterfronts, reclaiming over 10,700 legacy waste sites, enhancing 2,400 tourist and iconic destinations, and restoring more than 93,000 public spaces. Additionally, over 12,000 water bodies have been cleaned, over 60,000 institutional buildings revitalized, and nearly 47,000 sites prone to garbage buildup have been cleared. These numbers reflect the unwavering dedication and the transformative power of 'Jan Andolan.'

The pinnacle of this year's celebrations will occur on October 1st when the entire government and citizens across the country will come together to conduct cleanliness drives in various locations as part of 'One Date, One Hour, Together.' This national call to action for one hour of citizen-led voluntary work for cleanliness at 10 AM, championed by the Prime Minister, emphasizes the importance of cleanliness in all facets of society. On the 105th episode of Mann Ki Baat, the Prime Minister appealed for one hour of voluntary work for cleanliness at 10 am on October 1st, collectively offering a 'Swachhanjali' to Mahatma Gandhi on his birthday eve. The Prime Minister stated, "A significant cleanliness event is scheduled for October 1st, a Sunday, at 10 am. I urge you to participate in this cleanliness campaign in your neighborhoods, streets, parks, rivers, lakes, or any other public spaces."

An essential aspect of this year's campaign is the joint launch of the SHS Campaign by three Union Ministers, symbolizing the unified efforts of various government departments to realize Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of a 'Swachh Bharat.' The results are already evident, with the Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, announcing the achievement of 75% ODF Plus villages within just one week of the campaign's launch.

This year, there is a clear Whole of Government approach, with various departments collaborating to ensure a 'Swachh Bharat.' The Ministry of Tourism initiated the Travel for LiFE for Cleanliness Campaign at 108 selected sites, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting ensured the broadcast of the SHS video in all cinemas nationwide, and the Department of Telecom played the SHS ringtone across all mobile networks. The Department of Civil Aviation and Railway Board supported the SHS campaign in airports and railway areas, while the ASI illuminated major monuments with SHS branding. The Department of School Education & Literacy extended sanitation activities to all public and private schools, and the Department of Higher Education encouraged colleges and universities to promote cleanliness. Each department has contributed to the SHS campaign in its unique way.

Another distinctive feature of this campaign is its focus on the welfare of sanitation workers – the SafaiMitra. Health check-up camps and yoga sessions have been organized for their well-being. All sections of society have come forward to make SHS a resounding success. Women's Self-Help Groups have mobilized in large numbers, with many adopting villages for voluntary work. Youth in schools and colleges have shown great enthusiasm in cleaning up their cities, towns, and villages, with colleges adopting villages as well. Senior citizens are participating in voluntary work at beaches, parks, and public places, contributing to a cleaner society. Religious leaders at places of worship are also getting involved in voluntary work. Various organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, Red Cross, and various trade and agricultural bodies, are actively engaged in cleanliness activities.

Mass mobilization activities include taking the Swachhata Pledge, organizing Swachhata runs and Human Chains, conducting cleanliness drives at office premises, railway tracks, airports, tourist spots, and heritage sites, as well as pledging to ban single-use plastic and reduce waste. These collective efforts have revitalized our environment, creating a cleaner and healthier atmosphere. It is a tribute to the spirit of 'Team India.'

It is evident that the Swachhata Hi Seva 2023 campaign has rekindled the spirit of voluntarism and community participation among the masses. It has successfully achieved its annual objective of making sanitation a collective responsibility. This campaign demonstrates that remarkable achievements are possible when individuals, communities, and government agencies unite with a shared vision, as exemplified by the 'Swachh Bharat' Mission.

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