Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban 2.0 and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (Amrut) 2.0 with the aim of making Indian cities garbage free and water-safe, ensuring sewage does not drain into rivers, and providing better septic and sewage management in urban areas.
The Prime Minister emphasised that while his government is doing its best for cleanliness, from increasing the funds allocated for the purpose to creating awareness and upping the ante for a Swachh Bharat, the efforts will bear fruit only when everybody participates. He called for social cleanliness and welcomed the change in mindset of the masses.
“We have to remember that cleanliness is not a task just for a day, a fortnight, a year or for just a few people. Cleanliness is a great campaign for everyone, every day, every fortnight, every year, generation after generation. Cleanliness is a lifestyle, cleanliness is a life mantra,” said Modi at the launch of the programmes that are part of the sustainable development goals to be achieved by 2030.
In 2014, the PM said, the country took a pledge to make India open defecation free and this pledge was fulfilled with the construction of more than10 crore toilets.
“Now, the goal of Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban 2.0 is to make our cities completely free of garbage,” said Modi, adding that the target in the next phase of Mission Amrut is ‘improving sewage and septic management, making our cities water safe cities and ensuring that no sewage drains anywhere into our rivers’.
He lauded Mahatma Gandhi and Babasaheb Bhim Rao Ambedkar for their efforts towards cleanliness. He dedicated the success of transformation in urban regeneration and cleanliness to Gandhi and underlined that these missions are the result of his inspiration and are being realised through his ideals.
Modi said Swachh Bharat has ensured the dignity of mothers and daughters due to the construction of toilets at home, in workplaces and schools. “In this (the two programmes), there is a mission, there is respect, there is dignity, there is also the ambition of a country and there is also unmatched love for the motherland,” he said.
Appreciating the contribution of Ambedkar, Modi said the Dalit icon believed that development of urban areas is a great means of removing inequality. “Many people from villages come to cities with an aspiration for a better life. They get employment but their standard of living remains challenging even compared to their lives in the villages. This is like double jeopardy of staying away from home, and after that to stay in such a difficult situation,”said Modi, adding that Ambedkar emphasised on changing this situation by removing inequality.
Modi said the country has come a long way in processing waste as about one lakh tonnes of waste is processed every day now. “When the country started the campaign in 2014, less than 20% of the waste generated every day in the country was processed. Today we are processing about 70% of daily waste. Now, we have to take it to 100%,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister said this will also create “green jobs”. On the issue of fund allocation to the Urban Development Ministry, the PM said in the preceding seven years before 2014, the ministry was given about ₹1.25 lakh crore while in seven years from 2014 onwards almost ₹4 lakh crore were allocated.
Modern technology is also being harnessed and the National Automobile Scrappage Policy is one example of that.
The Prime Minister said street vendors and hawkers play a crucial role in urban development programmes in any city. Under the PM Svanidhi Yojana 25 lakh street vendors have received ₹2.5 thousand crore.