Sanitation is more important than political independence – Mahatma Gandhi
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is an ambitious campaign initiated by the Prime Minister of India Sh. Narendra Modi to clean the streets, roads and infrastructure of the country’s 4,041 statutory cities and towns. Towing the lines of Mahatma Gandhi, who played a leading role in spreading awareness about good sanitation and hygiene, the Government has launched many websites where these ‘Swachgrahis’ can register themselves and take up the swachh Bharat challenge. This even allowed to linearly extend the entire initiative and link the masses through e-Registrations,thus restructuring the entire Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan.
The campaign was’’ officially launched on 2nd October 2014 at Rajghat, New Delhi, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is India’s largest ever cleanliness drive with 3 million government employees, and especially school and college students from all parts of India, participating in the campaign aiming to clean india by 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.This campaign aims to improve the sanitation, garbage disposal, solid and liquid waste management and improve the hygiene conditions across the country.
We have recently completed a journey of 2 years but I’m sure none of us have reflected on the people who do the so called ‘Dirty Work’ at the grass root level. Employed by the municipal committees, these class IV employees religiously clean the streets, toilets and the neighbourhoods without a yap of protest.
Yes! The Garbage man..the ragpicker of our society, he is our uncelebrated hero. In spite of his tremendous efforts, he is being ignored by the society for the last so many decades .The Garbage Man, as we know him, carry the ‘legacy’ of being the ‘lesser being’ since the time caste system was conceived by Sage Manu in his ancient text ‘Manu Smriti’. Carrying loads of wastes to the dump yards and keeping us in a safe cocoon of clean surroundings is his daily routine that goes unnoticed and unappreciated.
But his work is propping up questions we need to answer wholistically, keeping the social obligation of maintaining proper health standards while these ‘Safai Karamcharis’ administer and carry on the jobs such as cleaning toilets and drains especially chemical wastes.
In a recent interview of JNICSR Times with Bhagwan Das (name changed) a ragpicker aged 23 from Delawada, M.P, when asked about his hygiene and sanitary condition while working, answered unhibitedly ‘I don’t like wearing such stuff, I feel very suffocated; As it is, in a stipulated time of few hours who would wear all this it is a sheer waste of time.” He stated this although all the facilities like masks, gloves have been provided to him, the equipments however, are of inferior quality and sometimes not even issued on time, so they have to use the used equipments in continuity for days.
In a sprawling chaotic city of millions, Bhagwan das may be a miniscule, insignificant identity, however his human right of ‘right to live’ stands uncontested. The best possible reason that comes to our mind for his attitude is lack of education, but the harsh reality is lack of interest and priority.
Because of his casual attitude towards his own hygiene and cleanliness he is frequently ill and have to visit clinics more often than usual which ultimately affects his daily wages and makes him a disease carrier. Give it to his disinterest or lack of knowledge, it is imperative for Bhagwan Das to know about the ill effects of not using proper equipments for a good health quotient.
Since corporates are already making their effort by performing csr and simply giving 2% of their profits along with people paying 0.1% of tax in every bill, It sums up to a huge amount with no record of utilisation.
1. Corporates must form a vigilance department in collaboration with NITI ayog who’s work should be to keep a track over the utilisation of the amount to be kept aside for the purpose of procuring appropriate equipments for Garbage collectors.
2. By organizing health/dental channel check up programs every month and taking preventive measures on time.
3. Making a health card of each ragpicker and maintaining their fitness record and providing them with attractive prizes which will motivate them.
4. Organising camps and explaining the reason behind the use of equipments like gloves, masks, aprons, sanitizer etc.
India is 7th largest nation in terms of geographical land distribution in the world when compared to other 196 countries. 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 has initiated the cleanliness drive. Picking up the broom to clean the dirt, making Swachh Bharat Abhiyan a mass movement across the nation. According to Prime Minister people should neither litter, nor let others litter. He gave the mantra of ‘Na gandagi karenge, Na karne denge.’
All these words are very inspiring to read and hear but the international standard of cleanliness tells a different story CHINA, US, CANADA, JAPAN, SINGAPORE, where india is ranked 143 in a survey conducted in 188 countries by ndtv in terms of hygiene.
Health care management has a direct impact on swach bharat abhiyan and the people in direct contact are the first people to deal with. This journey of 2 years is just the beginning. India is a country with more than 60% of population under the age group of 35, which means we have the potential to break the impossible records and strive our way to the best position in coming years.
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