Open defecation-free country became national slogan in 2014

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New Delhi, Jan 1: The government, under the aegis of Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, undertook a significant journey in 2014 to make the country free from open defecation under an ambitious plan of around Rs 2 lakh crore launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The year gone by also saw the government deciding to implement the rural water supply for Low Income States (RWSSP-LIS) of Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh with World Bank assistance over a period of six years (from 2013-14 to 2019-20).

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The project is meant for directly benefiting a rural population of about 78 lakh people including 44 lakh Scheduled Castes and more than eight lakh Scheduled Tribes, with improved piped water supply covering approximately 17,400 habitations in 2,150 gram panchayats in 33 districts of the four states.

Wielding the broom himself, Modi launched 'Clean India' campaign on October 2 and was joined by chief ministers, lawmakers, prominent personalities from various fields along with lakhs of countrymen.

The Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) aims at attaining a 100 per cent open defecation free India by 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

The main objective of the programme is to bring about an improvement in the general quality of life in the rural areas, by promoting cleanliness, hygiene and eliminating open defecation and accelerate sanitation coverage in rural areas.

The main activities under the mission are incentives for individual household latrines, construction of community sanitary complexes, solid and liquid waste management projects, information education and communication, capacity building, monitoring and evaluation.

Modi, while launching the programme, asserted that Swachh Bharat mission is "beyond politics" and inspired by "patriotism". He invoked Gandhi's vision of a "clean and developed" India as he formally kicked off the five-year-long campaign.

The tech-savvy Modi even launched his own version of ALS ice bucket challenge, nominating nine eminent personalities including Sachin Tendulkar, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, industrialist Anil Ambani along with several actors like Salman Khan, Priyanka Chopra and Kamal Hassan to spread awareness on the issue and asked them to continue the chain.

They accepted the challenge participating in cleanliness drive in their areas.

 PTI 

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