Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the 'Swachhata Hi Seva' movement today urging people across the country to actively participate in it and help create a 'Swachh Bharat'.
Calling it a "historic mass movement to strengthen the efforts to fulfil Mahatma Gandhi's dream of a clean India," PM Modi launched the movement, which also marks the commencement of Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary on October 2.
In a series of tweets, Prime Minister Modi said, "On October 2, we mark the start of Gandhi Ji's 150th birth anniversary. It is also the day Swachh Bharat Mission completes 4 years of being a historic mass movement aimed at fulfilling Bapu's dream of a Clean India. I salute all those working towards a Swachh Bharat!"
PM Modi, had invited former judges, retired government officials, winners of gallantry awards, and CWG and Asian Games medallists to join the movement. He sent personalised letters to the chief ministers and ceputy chief ministers of all states, governors and lieutenant governors.
"The 'Swachhata Hi Seva Movement' commences on 15th September. This is a great way to pay tributes to Bapu. Come, be a part of this movement and strengthen the efforts to create a Swachh Bharat!" he tweeted.
As part of the launch the prime minister interacted with a cross-section of people from 18 locations across the country, via video conferencing. The people with whom he interacted include school-children, jawans, spiritual leaders, members of milk and agricultural cooperatives, media persons, local government representatives, railway employees, self-help groups, and Swachhagrahis, among others.
"Youngsters are ambassadors of social change. The way they have furthered the message of cleanliness is commendable. The youth are at the forefront of a positive change in India," PM Modi said while interacting with the students of Assam via his NaMo App.
Highlighting the success of the Clean India mission, the prime minister said: "The Swachata coverage is now above 90 per cent which used to be 40 per cent four years ago. This happened in just four years."
"The credit for the success of Swachhata Abhiyan goes to the people of this nation and not the government alone," he said, adding that over nine crore toilets have been built in last four years and over 4.5 lakh villages have been declared as open defecation free.
"Did anyone thought four years ago that over 20 states and union territories would become ODF? This is the power of the people of India."
PM Modi also stressed that by only building toilets India won't become clean. "Cleanliness is a habbit in which one has to indulge himself everyday and change in behaviour is also required," he said.
He applauded the contribution of India's 'Nari Shakti' (women power) in the mission. "The contribution of India's Nari Shakti (women power) in the Swachh Bharat (clean India) Mission is immense," PM Modi said at the launch.
As the 'Swachhata Hi Seva Mission' has been generating tremendous enthusiasm from people across the country, eminent citizens such as Sri Sri Ravi Shankari, Akshay Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Ratan Tata, PT Usha and others have also given their support to the movement.
(With inputs from IANS)