At Work

Towards a Swachh Bharat

“A clean India would be the best tribute India could pay to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150 birth anniversary in 2019,” said Shri Narendra Modi as he launched the Swachh Bharat Mission at Rajpath in New Delhi. On 2nd October 2014, Swachh Bharat Mission was launched throughout length and breadth of the country as a national movement.

While leading the mass movement for cleanliness, the Prime Minister exhorted people to fulfil Mahatma Gandhi’s dream of a clean and hygienic India. Shri Narendra Modi himself initiated the cleanliness drive at Mandir Marg Police Station. Picking up the broom to clean the dirt, making Swachh Bharat Abhiyan a mass movement across the nation, the Prime Minister said people should neither litter, nor let others litter. He gave the mantra of ‘Na gandagi karenge, Na karne denge.’ Shri Narendra Modi also invited nine people to join the cleanliness drive and requested each of them to draw nine more into the initiative.

By inviting people to participate in the drive, the Swachhta Abhiyan has turned into a National Movement. A sense of responsibility has been evoked among the people through the Clean India Movement. With citizens now becoming active participants in cleanliness activities across the nation, the dream of a ‘Clean India’ once seen by Mahatma Gandhi has begun to get a shape.

The Prime Minister has helped spread the message of Swachh Bharat by urging people through his words & action. He carried out a cleanliness drive in Varanasi as well. He wielded a spade near River Ganga at Assi Ghat in Varanasi under the Clean India Mission. He was joined by a large group of local people who cooperated in the Swachhta Abhiyan. Understanding the significance of sanitation, Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has simultaneously addressed the health problems that Indians families have to deal with due to lack of proper toilets in their homes.

People from different sections of the society have come forward and joined this mass movement of cleanliness. From government officials to jawans, bollywood actors to the sportspersons, industrialists to spiritual leaders, all have lined up for the noble work. Millions of people across the country have been day after day joining the cleanliness initiatives of the government departments, NGOs and local community centres to make India clean. Organising frequent cleanliness campaigns to spreading awareness about hygiene through plays and music is also being widely carried out across the nation.

Bollywood celebrities to television actors came forward and actively joined the initiative. Noted personalities like Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Kailash Kher, Priyanka Chopra and entire cast and crew of SAB TV show ‘Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah’ lend a hand to Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Numerous sportspersons like Sachin Tendulkar, Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal and Mary Kom’s contribution the clean India drive have been commendable.


Class Diary 15 Jan

Did you miss a class? Are you dying to know what we did?  You can find here a brief summary of the last class.

We will have a series of video lectures.

We are planning to invite these people to connect with us through a Skype link-

  • Dr. Vadakkepat
  • Dr Beenisha
  • Prof. Chanakya, IISc Bangalore
  • Sayaji Mhetre
  • Sunita Narayan

Down to earth is a pro-earth conservation magazine focussing on waste treatment and prudential use of resources as well as breakthrough techniques and green technology.

Mandavgane sir will provide us with an online subscription to this magazine to expand our views on the matter.

At Work

Class Diary 14 Jan

Today sir suggested some aesthetic changes towards the look and feel of this blog. We will be visiting the treatment plants before 15th February.

We focussed on the need of developing dynamic traits of entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity through the coursework of this subject.

To help further this cause we had a discussion about a program in which an M.Tech, B.Tech student will have a hand-holding of younger students to help them with studies and provide them with a broad outlook, which in turn will help them choose their careers.

We plan to take a children’s workshop in the summer. The outline of the workshop is as follows-

Day 1- Orientation and Presentations

Day 2&3- Visit a treatment plant or relevant site.

Day 4- Condense what they saw during the visit in the form of posters, drawings

At Work

After Modi vows cleaner India, critics say gov’t is laying ground for assault on environment

Four months after becoming prime minister, Narendra Modi stunned Indians by picking up a crude straw broom and, holding it like a dance partner, gently sweeping at a small pile of green leaves on a New Delhi street.

Modi, ever the darling of photo ops and grinning selfies, seemed to be calling for a cultural revolution, defying centuries-old hierarchies that make the idea of an official cleaning a street anathema in Indian society. By leading a new campaign called “Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan” or “Clean India Mission,” Modi challenged those divisions while dignifying labor and elevating cleanliness as a nationwide goal.

That was the first and last time the public saw Modi with a broom. As he passes one year in office, India is as filthy as it ever was with some of the world’s most polluted air, rivers stinking with sewage and more than half the 1.2 billion population still defecating in the open. Despite lofty promises of a new pristine world filled with smart cities, sparkling waterways, solar panels and toilets for all, it is a mystery how Modi plans to get there.

At the same time, environment experts say, the government is laying the groundwork to dismantle hard-fought laws for protecting the environment. With hundreds of millions mired in poverty, many believe economic growth at any cost is the only thing that matters. The latest budget slashed environment funds by 25 percent, with little outcry. And business leaders have been effusive about Modi’s leadership, crediting his constant globe-trotting with boosting investor sentiment and raising India’s profile worldwide.

Modi’s approach embodies “the idea that like the West we will grow and clean up later,” said historian Ramachandra Guha. “But we don’t have access to colonies like Europe had,” he said. “There is no part of India where no one lives. If you excavate a coal mine, or build a factory on a river, you are depriving someone of land, or clean water, or forests.”

India has a long record of making plans that come to nothing. Previous governments also vowed better sanitation, cleaner rivers, renewable energy and various anti-pollution measures.

Modi’s promises on the environment include expanding solar power five-fold by 2022, ensuring everyone has access to a toilet by 2019, and cleaning the Ganges river of sewage and pollutants. The sanitation pledge alone requires building 70,000 toilets per day. The country is still 100 million toilets short of its goal while funds for sanitation were halved in the last budget.

Environmentalists worry most about what is to come from Modi’s government. They point to a mounting assault on environmental protections meant to check pollution, prevent unfair land-grabbing and establish legal rights for tribal communities to oversee the land they live on.

Specifically, the critics object to the loosening of rules such as requiring local consent for mineral prospecting as well as to longer-term plans for overhauling the country’s six keystone environment laws.

One of Modi’s first acts as prime minister was to form a committee that within three months issued a report recommending a wholesale shift in environmental regulation. The recommendations include eliminating independent pollution regulators and having industries police themselves.

All project clearances would be handled by a single government-appointed panel and eliminate the need for forest communities to approve diversion of their lands for industrial use. The Subramanian Committee report also suggests revising the mandate of India’s environmental courts so that they consider only existing law and not scientific arguments and other considerations.

While it’s unclear which recommendations Modi’s government will adopt, environmentalists believe it will embrace most of them within legislation soon to be presented in Parliament.

“If the laws aren’t working properly, you don’t just throw them out. You’re supposed to implement them, or make them better,” said Leo Saldanha of the Environment Support Group, which has campaigned against the report’s recommendations.

“Most of these changes will have adverse implications for decades. Modi won’t even be around to see the consequences of what he’s doing.”

Modi and many of his ministers have made clear they see India’s environmental laws as roadblocks to economic development, holding up industry and halting infrastructure such as dams, highways and railways.

India’s growth languished between 4 and 5 percent for several years as business confidence and investment wilted under the weight of chaotic bureaucracy, policy U-turns and epic corruption scandals. But economists forecast India to overtake China as the world’s fastest growing economy this year with a 7.4 percent expansion.

Environmental degradation, meanwhile, is already costing India at least 5.7 percent of its GDP each year, according to the World Bank. Those losses are expected to increase as the compound effects of pollution sicken more people while more of India’s forests vanish, soils continue to degrade and aquifers run dry.

Past governments have opened debate to communities and activists, but the Modi government has cracked down on groups such as the Ford Foundation, Greenpeace and Action Aid.

Critics warn Modi may be courting a backlash by undermining the rights of local communities and by sacrificing decades of environmental laws that required rigorous assessment of industrial consequences, even if those laws weren’t always implemented.

Fishermen have begun protesting coastal pollution, while tens of thousands of farmers rallied last month against plans to make land acquisitions easier. A decades-long Maoist insurgency continues unabated and with support from forest-dwelling communities who also seek a greater share of the country’s natural resource wealth.

“I have this feeling that all of this will ultimately go wrong,” said Pushp Jain, director of a Delhi-based environment consulting group ERC.

“If they take away public hearings, which is where affected people can be heard, then you have a problem.”

Source- Fox News

At Work

Millions across India pick up brooms and dustpans to clean up public spaces

Millions of schoolchildren, officials and ordinary people pick up brooms and dustpans to join a countrywide campaign to clean parks, public buildings and streets.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi swept the road in a poor neighborhood in New Delhi on Thursday while launching the Clean India Campaign.

Modi chose the birth anniversary of independence leader Mohandas K. Gandhi to launch the five-year drive to clean public spaces aimed at changing India’s image as one of the filthiest countries in the world.

The campaign was preceded by a media blitz exhorting every citizen to take a pledge to tidy up their homes and offices. Cabinet ministers, police and industry leaders have been clearing files and disposing clutter in their offices all week as part of the campaign.

Source- Fox News

At Work

Tapi clean-up campaign to be intensified

The Tapi Shuddhikaran Samiti (TSS), a voluntary organization, has decided to launch a vigorous campaign for river cleansing.

Under the campaign, programmes like formation of 10km-15km-long human chain are planned to draw the attention of administrators to urge them to formulate a special policy for Tapi cleanliness.

They will also hold symbolic programmes like handing over memorandum to statues of Gandhiji, Sardar Patel, Narmad and others to press on the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) and district authorities.

Anil Chauhan, president of the samiti, said, “We also plan to organize a dharna at SMC waste disposal outlets that open into Tapi River.

A programme will also be held at creeks whose polluted water flows in the river. It is high time we take concrete action.”
Sachin Dave, national convener of Students for Development (SFD), said, “A massive public opinion needs to be created about the cleanliness of Tapi River and we would start doing it with the help of TSS. Administrators must be compelled to make a policy for keeping our river clean.”
At Work

Setback to Clean India campaign in Belagavi district

Millions of schoolchildren, officials and ordinary people pick up brooms and dustpans to join a countrywide campaign to clean parks, public buildings and streets.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi swept the road in a poor neighborhood in New Delhi on Thursday while launching the Clean India Campaign.

Modi chose the birth anniversary of independence leader Mohandas K. Gandhi to launch the five-year drive to clean public spaces aimed at changing India’s image as one of the filthiest countries in the world.

The campaign was preceded by a media blitz exhorting every citizen to take a pledge to tidy up their homes and offices. Cabinet ministers, police and industry leaders have been clearing files and disposing clutter in their offices all week as part of the campaign.


Source- Fox News

At Work

World Bank approves $1.5 billion to support ‘Clean India’ campaign

World Bank today said it has approved a $1.5 billion loan to India for its ambitious ‘Clean India’ campaign to support the government’s efforts to ensure all citizens in rural areas have access to improved sanitation and end the practice of open defecation by 2019.

The loan, disbursed over a five-year period, will be used for the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) Support Operation Project.

As per World Bank statistics, of the 2.4 billion people who lack access to improved sanitation globally, more than 750 million live in India, with 80 per cent living in rural areas.

More than 500 million of the rural population in India continue to defecate in the open, suffering from preventable deaths, illness, stunting, harassment and economic losses.

“One in every ten deaths in India is linked to poor sanitation. And studies show that low-income households bear the maximum brunt of poor sanitation,” said Onno Ruhl, World Bank country director for India.

“This project, aimed at strengthening the implementation of the Swachh Bharat initiative of the government, will result in significant health benefits for the poor and vulnerable, especially those living in rural areas.

“Incentivising good performance by states and the focus on behavioural changes are two important components of this project,” Ruhl added.

The Bank said the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) will play the overseeing and coordinating role for the programme and support the participating states.
At Work

Clean India Campaign yet to expedite

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Clean India Campaign’, which completes a year on Friday (October 2), failed to pick up in the city.

PM started ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’ (Clean India Campaign) in his parliamentary constituency on November 8 by wielding a spade to remove silt deposited along the banks of Ganga. He had followed it up by nominating nine ‘Navratnas’, including CM Akhilesh Yadav, to carry forward the cleanliness in UP. Many NGOs, social and voluntary organizations as well as officials of Varanasi Municipal Corporation (VMC) wielded brooms to make different areas across the city spotless. But, everything proved to be a mere formality.

TOI visited some of the areas across the city on Thursday. Overflowing garbage dumps, scattered waste and debris along the roads were a common sight, though VMC claims to be removing garbage everyday. Hardly 30 metres away from the residence of mayor Ramgopal Mohley at Gandhi Nagar Colony in Sigra, one could find garbage dumped along the road. “It is a shame that VMC has failed to clean the area visible from its chief’s residence. All I have been reading in newspapers that this colony is one of those where regular cleaning is carried out, but hardly have I seen anyone cleaning the area,” a passerby said.

“There is Shankul Dhara area situated in the heart of the city, which has been in a pathetic condition since god knows how long. Then, there are our famed ghats along Ganga which are no different and in filthy condition. Except for Assi Ghat and a few adopted by NGO or other organizations, all the others are crying for attention,” radio jockey Soni Singh said.

The areas grappling with insanitation are Beniabagh, Dashaswamedh, Sonarpura, in and around district hospital for women and Sri Shiv Prasad Gupta (SSPG) Hospital in Kabir Chaura, Bharat Mata Mandir, near Cantonment railway station, Soniya, Aurangabad, Mehmoorganj, Ranipur, Tulsipur, Ravindrapuri, Assi-Lanka stretch, Lanka bypass, Khojwa, Bhelupur, Sunderpur, Ashapur and areas in trans-Varuna region.

 A resident of Dashaswamedh said, “The bylanes of famed Vishwanath Gali bear testimony to the slackness of VMC as these are always littered with garbage. Herds of stray cows and bulls can be seen munching on the garbage. Nothing has been done about it.” The meandering lanes are characterized by uneven potholed paths, dotted with garbage and cow dung on both the sides.
Open defecation continues despite presence of toilets at various public places but these remained closed for most of the time, forcing people to defecate in the open.
Meanwhile, corporation officials are patting themselves on the back for various cleanliness initiatives and drives being carried out in specific areas of the city. “We are putting in all efforts for cleanliness of the city. A cleanliness drive as a part of ‘Swacch Bharat Pakhwada’ began. VMC cleaned Macchodari Kund and Ram Kund in Ramkatora area earlier on Tuesday. This drive would continue till the entire kund is cleaned,” additional municipal commissioner B K Dwivedi said.
To mark the first anniversary of Clean India Campaign, a series of programmes are lined up and we are also going to initiate a cleanliness drive by involving rag pickers and others in Sigra on Friday, he added.