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Society is more violent now: Filmmaker Ketan Mehta

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The Indian society is turning more violent now, said Ketan Mehta while expressing his concern about the young students of the country during the third edition of Taj Literature Festival which ended on Sunday.

Mehta said, “India is an extremely liberal country and its character is changing now. I am uncomfortable with that. We are witnessing a violent and polarized society now.

Mehta had made the films like ‘’Maya Memsaheb’’ and ‘’Mirch Masala’’ and is working on his next movie ‘’Rani of Jhansi’’. ’’ He also made a movie “Toba Tek Singh” along with six directors from India and Pakistan to mark the 70th year of Partition. The movie will be released next month.

He also compared the current situation of the country with his movie ‘’Holi’’ ‘ released in 1984. Holi, shot mainly on the campus of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune, also based on the theme of student rebellion on the campus.

Speaking about ‘Holi’, which was based on the violence of society faced by students, Mehta said, ‘’ There was a strike at FTII when I was a student there. I was reliving the experience through the movie.

“If an artist chooses to play safe, he stops being an artist. As an artist, I don’t have the skill and I keep doing what I want to do,” he said.

“Toba Tek Singh”, which is part of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd’s Zeal For Unity (ZFU) project, is a biography of famous Sanskrit writer Saadat Hasan Manto. It is also seen as an initiative between India-Pakistan.

Speaking about the movie, he said that it talks about a mental asylum in Lahore and the consequences of two countries decision on the exchange of lunatics few years later Partition. “It is an extremely poignant story about the greatest human tragedy. Manto is the maverick of the times and Pankaj Kapur has done a great job as Toba Tek Singh,” he said.

Mehta also talks about his next movie ‘’Rani of Jhansi’’ leading character Kangana Ranaut, said Kangana is the best fit for the role.

“Rani of Jhansi is one of the strongest woman characters in world history. Ranaut has fire in the belly and she has the hunger to do something new,” said the director, adding that the film’s shooting will begin in October.

Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal emperor will be the movie thereafter.

“I had planned three movies as a series. ‘Mangal Pandey, The Rising’ was the first in the series and ‘Rani of Jhansi’ is the second, which I am currently working. The third will be on Bahadur Shah Zafar,” he said.

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Indian Government Spent Nearly Rs 4Kcr on Swachh Bharat Info, Education

“The Swachh Bharat mission can serve as a model for other countries around the world that urgently need to improve access to sanitation for the world’s poorest."

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swachhata abhiyan
The government's much publicised Swachh Bharat Mission -- which aims to enhance the level of sanitation in India and make the country open defecation free (ODF). Flickr

To make the Swachh Bharat Mission a success, India mobilised huge resources for information, education and communication (IEC) activities, with a new report estimating that the cash expenditure by the government, private sector, and the development community to be between Rs 3,500-4,000 crore in five years since the programme’s launch.

Of this cash spend, around 20 per cent was spent by the erstwhile Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, around 35 per cent by the state sanitation departments, around 25 per cent by other government ministries, and around 20 per cent by the private sector and the development sector collectively, said the report by consultancy firm Dalberg Advisors.

Under the Swachh Bharat Mission, the government has shown remarkable ability to leverage resources across the public sector, private sector, media, and civil society, to make sanitation a mass movement in India.

In fact, the study estimates that the Swachh Bharat Mission mobilised a spend equivalent worth Rs 22,000-Rs 26,000 crore in monetary and non-monetary information, education and communication activities.

The researchers reached this figure by identifying the key activities and costs by different actors, modelling the number of “exposures” created, and estimating the investment required if the government were to “buy” these exposures in an efficient market.

An average person living in rural India was exposed to between 2,500-3,300 SBM related messages over the last five years, according to the study titled “An assessment of the reach and value of IEC activities under Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen)”.

Young Indians
Young Indians want to strengthen the ‘Swachh Bharat’ initiative. Wikimedia Commons

A large majority of these messages were routed via newly constructed toilets, mass media, and the

Swachh Bharat logo. Other significant contributors included ambient media such as wall murals and hoardings, and other conventional channels such as inter-personal communication (IPC), digital media, and cinema.

Since the launch of the Swachh Bharat Mission on October 2, 2014, over 10 crore households toilets have been built in the country, leading to a significant improvement in sanitation coverage and reduction in open defecation.

Since 2014, engagement from the top political and government leadership, especially the Prime Minister, induced catalytic participation across segments, giving the cause of sanitation consistent attention and focus.

This translated into a mission mode approach where a range of government ministries, private sector organisations, the philanthropic ecosystem, civil society, and the media and entertainment sector participated to bring sanitation messaging and awareness to citizens at significant scale.

Also Read: Motorola Launches its First Smart TV in India

When Modi visits the US later this month, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will honour the success of Swachh Bharat that has transformed lives around the country.

“Globally, sanitation-related diseases kill nearly 500,000 children under the age of five every year. Yet despite its importance, sanitation has not received significant attention. A lot of governments are not willing to talk about it, in part because there are not easy solutions.

Before the Swachh Bharat mission, over 500 million people in India did not have access to safe sanitation, and now, the majority do. There is still a long way to go, but the impacts of access to sanitation in India are already being realised,” the Gates Foundation said in a statement.

“The Swachh Bharat mission can serve as a model for other countries around the world that urgently need to improve access to sanitation for the world’s poorest.” (IANS)