New initiatives to clean public places, rewarding the impact-makers and fresh pledges to meet the 2019 target of a clean-India marked the day as the the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi completed two years on Gandhi Jayanti.
Porbandar, the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi, and nearly 170 towns in Gujarat were declared Open Defection Free (ODF) on the birth anniversary of the ‘Father of the Nation’.
Andhra Pradesh became the second state after Gujarat to declare all its municipalities ODF under the ‘Swachch Bharat’ initiative and earned an incentive of Rs 185.97 crore from the Centre.
“Synchronizing the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan with Gandhiji’s birthday is most appropriate as he had always emphasized on adoption of cleanliness in our daily lives,” President Pranab Mukherjee said as he flagged-off a march for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan at Rashtrapati Bhavan here.
From Puducherry, to Rajkot, to his constituency Varanasi, the Prime Minister shared on Twitter pictures and videos of cleanliness drives and awareness campaigns held across the country by locals.
“It’s a matter of joy that Porbandar Dist, where Bapu was born has become open defecation-free today. Kudos to all those who made this happen,” Modi tweeted.
Union Ministers, Chief Ministers and state ministers joined people in the cleanliness drives. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal helped in cleaning the Kamakhya Temple while Union Ministers Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Kiren Rijiju were in action at a school here.
Union Minister Venkaih Naidu flagged off the ‘Swachhta Rally’ from India Gate.
Celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan joined cleanliness campaigns launched by media and corporate houses with the superstar saying that if Indians pledge to clean 10 yards around them, soon Modi’s vision of a Swachh Bharat can turn in to reality.
The Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry honoured the people whose short films were selected in a competition on the theme of Swachh Bharat.
The contest received 4,346 entries after which 20 were shortlisted with the top honour going Katyanan Shivpuri from Maharashtra for the film Murga.
Swachh Bharat Mission has become a social movement in the country and it is for first time in Independent India that people were joining hands for a such a cause, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said after administering cleanliness pledge to school students at a function.