NEW DELHI: Realising that they failed to involve 27 brand ambassadors appointed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for Swachh Bharat Mission, Government is now working on a new strategy where these ambassadors will work in dedicated areas in a timetable format as per their convenience.
Prime Minister launched the Swachh Bharat Mission on October 2, 2014 with a vision to Clean India by 2019, which marks the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. Over the period of time, Modi has appointed 27 ambassadors, which included prominent personalities from various walks of life like sportspersons, Bollywood stars, industrialists, social activists and spiritual gurus among others. Some of the prominent names include cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, Bollywood actors Priyanka Chopra and Salman Khan.
“Initially these people were active and campaigned for Swachh Bharat but amidst their busy schedules it was not possible to keep up the momentum and involve them actively for the cause,” said Parmeswaran Iyer, Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.
Iyer stated that the government now mulls accelerating the work and a second phase will be started soon to engage all the 27 mission ambassadors.
“We have worked out the reasons what prevented these ambassadors to give time for the cause. Now, we are in the process of preparing a timetable and strategy for each of the ambassadors after consulting them. We have also kept in mind to engage them in areas of their expertise and places preferred by them for their convenience,” said Iyer.
He said the second phase will start from July and most of the prominent faces will be seen campaigning for the mission.
Iyer rejected reports that Prime Minister was not happy with the pace of the work and said the government is working towards attaining the deadline of October 2, 2019 when villages are planned to be made open defecation-free by constructing toilets.
The government is also working towards inculcating the habit of using toilets by bringing about behavioural changes, he said.
"Globally there are 1 billion people who practice OD (open defecation). 600 million of them are in India. So, it is a monumental challenge which has never been seriously addressed.
This is the first time chief executive of any country has taken such interest. The increase in sanitation coverage from end of 2014 till now is of 14 per cent which is remarkable in such a short time. I think there has been lot of momentum," he said.