Banega swachh IndiaOn December 14, 2014, NDTV India in continuation of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 2, 2014, started a 12-hour Cleanathon, ‘Banega Swachh India’. Dettol India in partnership with NDTV & Facebook had launched ‘Banega Swachh India,’ a social initiative and a commitment towards making India clean and healthier in October 2014. Though the programme was launched along with the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, to make it more popular, a special programme was telecast for 12 hours by NDTV India from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, which was participated by a number of celebrities.

Objective of Banega Swachh India

Banega Swachh India aims to spread awareness among all people, spread all across the country, about the importance of sanitation and hygiene. It’s a 5-year ambitious programme with Amitabh Bachchan as the ambassador and a sum of Rs 100 crore has been allocated towards making this initiative successful. In October 2014, an NDTV-Dettol Banega Swachh India bus was flagged off. So far, the bus has covered around 400 villages across eight States – UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, Haryana, Rajasthan, MP, Chattisgarh, and Maharashtra. The awareness programme is initiated through interactive videos, flyers, posters, street plays and hand-washing sessions.

NDTV’s Swachh ambassadors

Along with Amitabh Bachchan, there are some other dignitaries nominated in the campaign. They are as follow:

  • Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu: The present Railway Minister, who is also a chartered accountant by profession. One main reason to nominate Suresh Prabhakar is to bring about a change in the dirty picture of India Railways. The idea is to encourage the use of bio toilets in Indian Railways instead of open toilets that release human waste on tracks.
  • Saina Nehwal: Arjuna Awardee and ace badminton player, is another Swachh ambassador nominated by NDTV.
  • Arvind Gupta: National Head of BJP IT Cell
  • Priyanka Chaturvedi: Spokesperson of All India Congress Committe.
  • Ronnie Screwvala: Founder and CEO of UTV Group and founder trustee, Swades Foundation. This foundation aims to construct 25,000 toilets during the Swachh India Cleanathon.
  • Anand Mahindra: Chairman and MD, Mahindra Group. He declared Rs 30 crore to construct 5,000 toilets.
  • Dettol India: Dettol India has invested Rs 100 crore for this campaign

Highlights of the 12-hour Cleanathon

Rakesh Kapoor, Global CEO, of Reckitt Benckiser (RK) kickstarted the Cleanathon campaign with a donation of Rs 100 crore. The company will spend the money over the next one year to spread awareness about sanitation and cleanliness. Some well-known celebrities that participated in the Cleanathon campaign were Amitabh Bachchan, all the nominated ambassadors, veteran actress Waheeda Rehman, Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra, Chanda Kochhar, MD and CEO, ICICI Bank, noted lyricists Prasoon Joshi and many more.

Cleanathon drive

As part of the 12-hour Swachh India Cleanathon, clean-up drives were organised in various parts of India. One such prominent area was the clean-up of the Ghats of Ganga in Varanasi. There was also a story narrated by a young 17-year girl called Mamata. She dropped out of school from Mewat Haryana because there was no toilet. Then she travelled 12 km almost every day to another school which had a toilet.

  • Ronnie Screwvala said that it is time now to give the rural India a sense of ownership in these initiatives.
  • Chanda Kochhar remarked that every branch of ICICI bank has been asked to take care of the cleanliness in areas around their branches along with spreading the cleanliness message to as many people as possible.
  • Anand Mahindra suggested that people below the poverty line should be identified and new ways and methods should be adopted to get people to own and sustain this cleanliness initiative like the freedom movement.
  • Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Uma Bharti joined the campaign live from Sangam Ghat, Allahabad.
  • Chief Minister of Goa Laxmikant Parsekar also joined the Cleanathon campaign and he spoke about the sanitation scheme that his Government has undertaken in Goa. In this scheme which is limited to OBC families, SC families, ST families, an NGO Sulab International has been entrusted with the responsibility to make the cleanliness mission a success. The Government has paid Sulabh International Rs 24,000 to construct each toilet for each family.
  • According to the Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Hemant Soren, it is necessary to first improve the situation in urban areas as even if rural areas may not have toilets, they are cleaner than the urban areas.
  • “The Ugly Indians”, a name given to some Bengaluru’s faceless warriors, along with Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar, joined on a cleanliness mission to do good work for the benefit of the people without taking any credit for it.

Modi’s tweet

At the end of the Cleanathon campaign, campaign ambassador Amitabh Bachchan said, “We have spoken enough, now it is time to act. Every Indian needs to take charge and make this initiative a success”.

Modi in one of his tweets said, “I appreciate NDTV and Sr Bachchan for the ‘Banega Swachh India’ campaign, to address aspects related to hygiene and sanitation”.

More than Rs 281 crore has been raised in the Cleanathon campaign so far. The “Banega Swachh India” campaign is indeed a very praiseworthy effort by NDTV and Dettol. Hope this campaign goes a long way in changing the views of the people of India and helps to build a cleaner India.

 

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