NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today hailed the children of the country as the "biggest ambassadors" of the government's ambitious 'Clean India' campaign, saying "innocent minds" comprehend an issue in far better ways than adults do.
"We dreamed up 'Swachch Bharat' last year from this very ramparts only...We are achieving our goals in this mission, but most importantly, it is the children, who have been its biggest ambassadors," Modi said, drawing a large cheer from the crowd at the Red Fort.
The mission, one of the pet projects of the Prime Minister aims to build millions of toilets to eliminate open defecation in the country by 2019, coinciding with Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary.
"We want to achieve the goal of clean India by 2019. That would be our biggest tribute to Mahatma Gandhi... And, am amazed the role children have played in this mission.
Sometimes, innocent minds can understand a subject in far better ways than adults do," Modi said in his Independence Day speech.
Almost 4.25 lakh toilets were built in 2.62 schools nationwide in one year, and this gives us self-confidence that we can do what we want to, he said.
Thousands of schoolchildren, who had gathered at the historic monument to mark the 69th Independence Day, had even planned to show their support to the mission by forming the letters of 'Swachch Bharat' in Devanagari script, using the colours of their costumes.
"We practiced hard but, we could not perfect the 'ch' in the Hindi word 'Swachch', so we settled for 'Jai Bharat'," said 11-year-old Aliya, a class 6 student at Khalsa Girls High School in Chandani Chowk.
Children wearing saffron, white and green-coloured track suits and matching caps, made the formation much to everyone's delight.
"If we had more time, then maybe we would have perfected it, because, we really wanted to tell our PM that we support this 'Swachch Bharat' mission," 12-year-old Gulnaz, another school student, said.