Mismatch between rhetoric, reality: Shashi Tharoor on Swachh Bharat mission

New Delhi, Sept 11: Nominated about a year ago by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to spread the message of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has said there is a mismatch between "rhetoric and reality" when it comes to the steps taken to fulfil the goals of the cleanliness campaign.

"The government's words have not been matched by action for this drive. It should try to more meaningfully contribute in terms of resources, material and direction to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan," the former Union minister said.

Tharoor speaks about Swachh Bharat

The publicity being done for the mission is "terrific", Tharoor said, but a more concerted endeavour is required to achieve its objectives, he added.

"When the photo-ops and the celebrity events are over, you need dedicated efforts on the ground to take the campaign forward," he said.

Recalling work done on the cleanliness front by him in Kerala, Tharoor, Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram, said that while the streets and localities are cleaned of garbage, it must also be ensured that the waste thus collected finally ends up at a treatment plant.

Reiterating that more funds are needed to be allocated for the mission, he claimed that the government's publicity budget for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was larger than that for meeting its sanitation goals.

"The Prime Minister had spoken about a Swachh Bharat Kosh, but there is no mention of it now. There is need for much more to be done for the Abhiyan," he said on the sidelines of an interaction of President Pranab Mukherjee and the Swachh Bharat ambassadors at Rashtrapati Bhavan yesterday.

Launching his ambitious drive to ensure a comprehensive clean-up of urban India, Modi had last year nominated nine eminent personalities, among whom were the likes of cricket legend Sachin Tedulkar, industrialist Anil Ambani and actor Salman Khan, to spread the message of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

Tharoor too was named in the list of nominees and had said that he was "honoured" to accept the Prime Minister's invitation, something that had seen the Congress leader come in for criticism within party circles.


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