According to the reports by WaterAid, India, the world’s second-largest country by population, is once again at the top with the highest number of people without basic sanitation. In India, 56% of the population including a staggering 355 million women and girls are still waiting for a toilet making them the most vulnerable. According to a study by the researchers of University of Michigan, “Lack of sanitation facilities is linked to higher rape incidents in India.”
The Narendra Modi government had initiated a campaign towards cleanliness. Under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan campaign which was initiated in accordance with the 145th birth anniversary of Mahathma Gandhi, there has been progress made in improving access to sanitation. 52 million household toilets have been built between October 2014 and November 2017 which has allowed India to be among the 10 nations in reducing open defecation and improving access to basic sanitation. But there is still a long way to go.
It is said that Bollywood celebrities play significant influencers today. The government of India hence partnered with several celebrities for this mission with an aim to achieve an Open-Defecation Free (ODF) India by 2 October 2019. The celebrities who have supported the cause include Amitabh Bachchan, Anushka Sharma, Shilpa Shetty, Virat Kohli, Priyanka Chopra, Sachin Tendulkar and Salman Khan. While some of these celebrities featured in the ad campaigns for the cause, others were seen supporting the cause by picking a broom.
The UNICEF also through its Nirmal Bharat Abhiyaan campaigns, features Bollywood actor Vidya Balan.
The finance ministry recently directed all public sector banks (PSBs) to provide customers access to clean toilets at branches and also dedicate CSR funds to give a boost to the Swachh Bharat Mission. The 21 PSBs have about 1.25 lakh branches across the country.
Besides, the ministry also asked six state-owned insurance companies to provide clean toilet facility to its customers at their branches. The central government has allocated over Rs 33,700 crore under the Swachh Bharat scheme since its launch in 2014.
India does not top the charts when it comes to cleanliness. As a matter of fact, we as a country have many times on global stage faced criticism for the lack of availability of proper sanitation facilities. Danny Boyle’s ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, which went on to win the Oscars further highlighted the plight of our slums and brought the subject to the forefront. With the idea to create and promote awareness regarding the need for better sanitation facilities and clean India, each one of us need to make an increasing effort towards maintaining and monitoring cleanliness in our daily lives.
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The CSR Journal Team