In Focus

New thrust to Swachh Bharat Mission in Maharashtra

A Draft Correspondent | Pune

The regional headquarter for Bureau of Outreach Communication in the Maharashtra and Goa region, Regional Outreach Bureau (ROB) launched the Maha Swachhta Abhiyan on 10 January. This is a unique and one-of-its-kind campaign which aims to reach the message of Swachh Bharat to one crore citizens. Maha Swachhta Abhiyan is being organised in collaboration with Department of Education, Government of Maharashtra.

ROB Director (Addl charge) Santosh Ajmera elaborated during a press conference the key features of the programme. Maha Swachhta Abhiyan involves simultaneous participation of 2900 schools spread across twenty nine select urban centres in Maharashtra. Two hundred students from each school are expected to participate in the related events.

Maha Swachhta Abhiyan programme members during the press conference

The students shall then participate in Swachhta awareness rallies taking the message of Swachhta Abhiyan to the wider public. Participation of five lakh students is anticipated in this mission. These students would then act as Swachhta Ambassadors reaching out to minimum twenty shopkeepers and retail vendors each encouraging them to take the Swachhta pledge, in turn enabling participation of one crore citizens.

At the conference Mr Ajmera said, "An event of this scale and participation is unprecedented in Maharashtra. This event enables mass mobilisation helping spread the message of Swachh Bharat Mission and generating a mass movement among state citizens." He thanked the Department of Education, Government of Maharashtra for their logistical and managerial support.

Deputy Director Department of Education, Government of Maharashtra Suresh Mali also elaborated on the key facets of the programme. In attendance were Nodal Officer Maha Swachhta Abhiyan DV Vinod Kumar and Manager Song and Drama Division, Government of India Pan Patil.

Regional Ourteach Bureau in Pune has nearly 11 field units located across the state. ROB has recently been rechristened by merging the various media units of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India viz. Directorate of Field Publicity, Directorate of Audio Visual Publicity and Song & Drama Division. ROB is responsible for various outreach activities of Government of India and has to reach out to people through awareness campaigns and flagship schemes in the Maharashtra and Goa region. ROB carries out outreach programmes and campaigns at the field and ensures the development communication reaches the last mile.

The ROB has been tasked by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India for the Swachh Bharat Information, Education and Communication activities across Maharashtra region. Nearly 116 special outreach programmes associated with cultural activities are to be organised. The main focus has been on making citizens aware of the benefits of clean living and promoting citizen participation and awareness towards a cleaner city.

The Swachh Bharat Mission is a nation-wide campaign launched by PM Narendra Modi on 2 October 2014 to clean up Indian cities, towns and rural areas by putting focus on sanitation. The objectives of the mission include eliminating open defecation through construction of household-owned and community-owned toilets and establishing an accountable mechanism of monitoring toilet use. The mission will help India achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) established by the UN in 2015. The mission is India's largest cleanliness drive to date with participation from three million government employees and students from all parts of the country.

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