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Swachh Bharat Abhiyan: Time to ‘be the change’

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By Anjali Gursahaney

On October 2, last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a nationwide cleanliness campaign called the “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.” He used Gandhiji’s spectacles as its symbol and laid down a vision to have a Clean India. Nine influential personalities in India including Sachin Tendulkar and Baba Ramdev were nominated by him to start the cleaning effort.

Except Priyanka Chopra and Kamal Hasan, each of them took brooms in hands with their teams and further nominated nine people to join the campaign.

Swachh Bharat or mere symbolism

Picture Courtesy: ndtv.com
Picture Courtesy: ndtv.com

 

Started with a gusto and nationwide goodwill, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has emerged as nothing more than a mere symbolism. Should government be blamed for this or should we blame ourselves? Modi had clearly stated that it was people’s campaign to clean their place and not government’s. Government can provide infrastructure but it should be our habit to throw garbage in bins. Throwing litter everywhere and blaming government of symbolism won’t help.

Tirupati was awarded as the cleanest holy city, recently. Even Banaras, a city where the Prime Minister paid personal attention since it is his Lok Sabha constituency, has started to change for better. The Ghaats are now cleaner. When asked from a local resident about the change, he said: “jaise hi Modi ne jadu uthya wase hi CM aur District Magistrate bhee neend se uth gaye.” (The moment Modi picked the broom, the CM and District Magistrate too woke up from slumber.)

Delhi: Capital of India

Picture Courtesy: Anjali Gursahaney
Picture Courtesy: Anjali Gursahaney

Let me tell you what I have noticed in the past year.
The silver colored dustbins with Swachh Bharat symbol lie empty. Walk through any busy market in Delhi and you will notice that people do not care to use dustbins. People spit on the walls or even outside the dustbins. Some people who try putting the rubbish in dustbin, miss the shot.

Picture Courtesy: Anjali Gursahaney
Picture Courtesy: Anjali Gursahaney

Interestingly, when safai karamchaaris come to collect the waste, they don’t find anything in it and leave as it is not their job to pick the waste outside dustbins. We cant blame them for not picking the waste outside the dustbin, rather people need to understand the purpose of a dustbin.

Typically, people choose to throw trash anywhere but in dustbins. They choose to urinate in public places, they spit on the road. To curb this menace, some people have tried pasting posters of gods and goddesses on walls. Even this does not prove effective.

A colleague of mine told me that she resides in a very posh locality of Delhi where people spend lakhs of rupees just in bhajan kirtan. Their apartments are so tidy. However, when you use lifts and stairs, or anything that is meant for general use, you see garbage, and spit marks due to gutka and paan.

Talking to NewsGram, a Delhi resident Anirudh Soorma said: “Every time you tell people to throw waste in dustbins they make fun of you and they even say ‘Modi ko phone karo’ (call Modi) and other such flowery phrases. I don’t understand what pride they get by littering in their own country!”
Kumar, a local street vendor, remarked that some people just don’t care, “Log aate hain aur jhahan dil kare wahan kachra fek dete hain! Kaafi bar bolna padta hai ki yahan dabba rakha hua hai, yaha fekiye. Yeh bolne ke baad bhee kuch log kasht nahi krte uthakr fekne ka.” (People come and throw garbage wherever they like. Many times I tell them that there is the dustbin, throw the garbage in it. Still people don’t take the pains to pick and throw inside the bins.)
The other day, I saw a college girl throwing a bottle of Coke randomly in the market. When I asked her to pick that up, she said, “One bottle won’t clean Delhi”. Bystanders who heard the conversation said: “Yeh toh roz ka maamla hai . Agar hum log ek dusre ko ese check karke bolte rehe toh shayad is desh ka kucch ho jaaye.” (This is an everyday affair. If we keep checking each other, maybe, we could do some good to the nation.)

NewsGram spoke to yet another Delhi resident, Parul Keswani, who said: “It is not merely garbage. People leave their alcohol bottles in public place. The other day I went to Hauz Khas Lake. There were so many broken glass bottles due of which my sister got her leg hurt.”

Way Forward
“In our country, personal hygiene has been a focus, but social hygiene is an issue. People are very cautious about personal hygiene. But we have not been giving much importance to social hygiene, we now have to give importance to social hygiene,” PM Modi said at Safaigiri Awards 2015 function.

Picture Courtesy: narendramodi.in
Picture Courtesy: narendramodi.in

Modi further added: “From the days of independence, Indians have thought that the government has to do everything but this needs to change now.”

Swachh Bharat  programme will never be successful if it is taken as the government or Modi’s programme. This has to be our programme,” he added.

If we want clean environment then it has to start from ourselves. The government needs to put sanitation structure in place and we as the society must play our part in maintaining the basic sanitation.

“Be the change you want to see.”- Mahatma Gandhi

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India, Canada Pledge To Fight Terrorism In All Forms

Modi and Trudeau also welcomed the agreement on a bilateral Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism that was signed between the two countries

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India Canada pledges to fight terrorism of all kinds together. Facebook
India Canada pledges to fight terrorism of all kinds together. Facebook
  • India and Canada pledged to fight terrorism in all its forms
  • Modi and Trudeau also agreed on the Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism
  • Both the countries are looking forward to a cooperative future

India and Canada on Friday pledged to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations while declaring that no country should allow its territory to be used for terrorist and violent extremist activities.

The assertion by the two countries came in a joint statement issued after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau and assumes significance in the context of perceived softness on the part of Canada towards Khalistani separatists operating on its soil.

India and Canada pledged to fight terrorism together. www.affairscloud.com
India and Canada pledged to fight terrorism together. www.affairscloud.com

“Recognising that terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation to violence present acute challenges to global peace, stability and prosperity, the leaders resolved to combat terrorism and violent extremism in all their forms and manifestations,” the joint statement said.

“They called for bringing terrorists to justice and holding accountable state sponsors of terrorism, including cross-border terrorism. They further emphasised that no country should allow its territory to be used for terrorist and violent extremist activities.”

Modi and Trudeau also welcomed the agreement on a bilateral Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism that was signed between the two countries.

The Framework recognised the urgent imperative to disrupt recruitment, terrorist movements and the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, address the threat posed by cross-border and state-sponsored terrorism, stop sources of terrorist financing, dismantle terrorist infrastructure and prevent the supply of arms to terrorists and counter violent extremism and radicalisation to violence.

The two sides emphasised the need to deny operating space to terrorist and violent extremist groups.

Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism was signed between the two countries. Wikimedia Commons
Framework for Cooperation on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism was signed between the two countries. Wikimedia Commons

Under the Framework, both sides committed to further develop exchanges and facilitate effective cooperation in the fields of security, finance, justice, and law enforcement, including, where appropriate, at the operational level.

Also Read: ‘Vanakkam!’ Tweets Canadian PM: Justin Trudeau Joins over 200,000 People at the Biggest Tamil Diaspora Festival in Toronto

It consists of institutionalised cooperation between the National Security Council Secretariat of India and the office of Canada’s National Security and Intelligence Advisor, and regular exchanges and coordination between India and Canada, which will be guided by the joint National Security Advisors’ Dialogue.

The joint statement further said that to reaffirm the importance of lawful commerce and the freedom of navigation and over-flight throughout the Indo-Pacific region, in accordance with international law, including the rights and jurisdiction of states under UN Convention for Law of the Sea (Unclos), the two leaders supported bolstering regional connectivity through transparent development of infrastructure and use of responsible debt financing practices, while ensuring respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the rule of law and environment.

Modi and Trudeau also expressed “strong concern” over the prevailing security situation in Afghanistan and the recent political developments in the Maldives and their implications for free society.

The Two Countries will work together towards peace.
The Two Countries will work together towards peace.

On the economic side, both leaders agreed to realise the full potential of bilateral trade and investment and both sides will renew efforts to expand and diversify bilateral economic and commercial relations.

“They will also intensify negotiations to finalise a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and a Bilateral Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement,” the statement said. Modi and Trudeau also agreed to strengthen bilateral and international cooperation to address climate change and secure a clean energy future and committed to promoting the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

“The leaders welcomed the initiative to establish the (India-initiated) International Solar Alliance to promote renewable energy for sustainable development,” the statement said. “They urged research institutions and industry in both countries to collaborate to promote greater use of solar technology.”

Also Read: India and Canada to Jointly Issue Two Sets of Diwali Themed Postal Stamps

It stated that the two leaders “underscored the importance of accelerating the global transition to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy sources and acknowledged that renewable energy is a pathway to a low-carbon and more sustainable energy system”.

“Recognising the dynamic role of people-to-people ties in the India-Canada partnership, the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to address consular issues of mutual concern through discussion between the concerned officials,” the statement said. “They welcomed the expansion of direct air connectivity between Indian and Canadian cities.” IANS