Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday said that rural sanitation coverage had gone up from 39 percent to 66 percent in the last three years and 2.17 lakh villages were now free of open defacation.
Addressing the 99th birthday celebrations of Dada Vaswani in Pune, Modi called upon NGOs to help make sanitation a mass movement.
Lauding Dada Vaswani’s thoughts on “Making the Right Choice”, the Prime Minister said that if people resolve to make the right choice, evils such as corruption, casteism, drug abuse and crime can be overcome.
“A reason for evils in the society is that despite knowing what is right and what is not, some people choose the wrong alternative. Making the right choice and moving on it is a basis for creating a stong society,” Modi said.
He said when the Swachh Bharat mission was launched in 2014, rural sanitation coverage was only 39 percent.
“Today it has reached 66 percent. A healthy tradition has also begun. There is competition among villages, districts and states to be open defecation free. Till now 2.17 lakh villages have become open defecation free,” Modi said.
He said Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Kerala had been declared open defecation free.
Modi said toilets can be constructed and employees can be asked to clean roads but to keep them clean on a regular basis needed all round efforts.
“I want to make an appeal to every NGO through this programme… Cleanliness is not a situation but a habit. It should become part of our nature. If practised daily, the habit will become the nature of the society,” he said.
Referring to climate change, he said steps such as afforestation, making energy out of waste and increase in use of solar energy will help meet the challenge.
He said the county was taking a pledge of making a “new India” to fulfill the dreams of freedom fighters by 2022, the 75th anniversary of the country’s Independence.
He urged the Sadhu Vaswani Mission to join this effort. Modi said targets should be such which can be measured in numbers.