Taking strides towards a Swachh Bharat

By Heman Sabharwal

Cleanliness is next to godliness” – Mahatma Gandhi

Since our childhood, we all have heard this saying from our parents and grandparents. If we ask anybody, what is Swachh Bharat… many people would say that it is an Abhiyan run by the Government of India and was initiated by the Honourable Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and is aimed at providing hygiene, waste management and sanitation facilities across the nation. We always have high expectations from the Government and municipal corporations to keep our colony/city/country clean.

But, have we ever stopped and asked ourselves if we’ve done our bit to keep our surroundings clean? In most cases, an honest response would be a resounding NO!

The onus lies on each individual to contribute in achieving the mission of a Swachh Bharat. The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is a cleanliness drive that targets to cover 4,041 statutory cities and towns all over India.

The inauguration of the campaign symbolically coincided with Gandhi Jayanti to realise the vision of a ‘Clean India’ by 2 October 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

More than 4 crore toilets have been constructed since the inception of this scheme, and 573 cities, 1,88,008 villages and 130 districts have been declared Open Defecation Free (ODF).*

The question really is – Why can’t we keep the area around our house, colony, roads clean the way we keep our houses?

During my visit to Singapore more than a decade back, I learnt from my cousin who had been staying there since many years that there are hefty fines if one is found littering public places and throughout the trip, my wife and I were extremely mindful of this fact.

On our way back, I reflected upon the scenario prevalent in India where everybody - including myself, litters the roads all the time. From that day on, I pledged that I will keep my surroundings clean and have easily been able to maintain that.

Making slight changes to our habits could go a long way - placing a bag inside our car to keep the waste, not throwing garbage or waste, being particular about segregating waste and using appropriate trash bins, saying ‘no’ to non-recyclable plastic packets and cups, using recycled and eco-friendly products such as paper or jute bags , planting trees, etc. If each one of us vows to keep our surroundings clean, this would not be deemed as a ‘mission’ but as a way of life. 

In my view, Swachh Bharat is not a Mission or Abhiyan of the Government but it is a change in ‘Soch’ (mindset) that we need to bring about in ourselves to achieve this Mission. We, as honest citizens, must not feel entitled and expect the Government to step in and clean up our filth.

Are you ready to take a pledge to become an agent of change and to keep our country clean? 

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Jaivir Singh

Vice Chairman
PwC India Foundation, PwC India

Tel: + 91 124 4620114

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