1,800 Cr to bring “AWARENESS on “Swach Bharat” – Worth spending!

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The Centre will soon launch an intensive IEC campaign at an estimated cost of Rs 1,800 cr to generate awareness about the need for cleanliness and to bring about behavioural changes for achieving the goal of 'Swachh Bharat'swacgbharat_awarenessfund

Union Minister Shri. Venkaiah Naidu said that for achieving the goal of ‘Swachh Bharat’, the Mission launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi on Oct. 2 this year, the Centre will soon launch an intensive information, education and communication (IEC) campaign at an estimated cost of Rs 1,800 crore to generate awareness. “Cleanliness is not a one-day affair and the minister said that “Swachh Bharat” Mission is about much more than building toilets etc., It is more about changing the mindsets and acknowledging the right of others to a clean and healthy environment”. The Urban Development minister noted that a clean environment contributes substantially to the GDP through increased productivity of human resources.

Source:

Requisition to Hon’ble Union Minister, Parliamentary Affairs, Govt. of India, Shri Venkaiah Naidu garu.

Subject: Brain-storm on Awareness-programs* before releasing the funds

Dear Sir,

Your recent announcement of 1,800 Cr. Awareness Fund allocation for achieving the goal of ‘Swachh Bharat’-the Mission launched by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi on Oct. 2, 2014-is highly appreciated. However, as you rightly said, Sir, the proposed mission is about “much more than building toilets etc., it is more about changing the mindsets and acknowledging the right of others to a clean and healthy environment” which in turn contributes substantially to the GDP through increased productivity of human resources. In this context we have the following suggestion for your review and feasibility.

Sir, we asked many people randomly the following questions, regardless of education, social and economic backgrounds of the participants: It is good to learn that Ministry has granted 1,800 Cr. towards Swach Bharat Awareness program, so

  1. Do you consider the “awareness programs”* in this country will bring any positive change in the practices of people and the authorities, especially Municipality etc., who may be involved in maintaining drainage systems, water supply and lining, fair distribution, roads, garbage collection and disposal etc. to protect the environment and serve its people?
  2. Is this spending for such “awareness programs”* justified?

The Answers were:

Most people said, as an answer to both the questions: “A Big NO”  and others said, Well (…a big pause…with confused non-verbal facial expressions…finally said…) “lets wait and see”

Sir, under these circumstances we have the following concerns and also suggestions for your review, feasibility of our suggestions, consideration and implementation. We sincerely request you, Sir, and the concerned that please take a deep breath before releasing the money and maybe there are other ways of handling and bringing the true change at the ground zero level. People are very well aware of many things and as you rightly said, Sir, it is mainly about the attitude, the behavior, the mindset, that needs to be changed. There are news reports that more than 60 percent of resources, at for example municipality level, are going down the 60 plus years old, well laid down and tamper proof  ‘invisible’ drainage lines – in other words a derailed health economy, also known as corruption. And only 40 percent or even less is spent in reality and how much of that is actually reaching the end users is a multi-trillion dollar question. And in this process, not to mention the role of local, community based wel(l)-fare associations.

An alternative to the “spending on awareness” we would like to suggest the following and please “brainstorm” on its feasibility:

Consider the institutions like TATA Consultancy (TCS), Infosys, Wipro etc., and their invaluable services through well trained and educated workforce who contributed to the Global development and more recently to Passport services in Hyderabad. Restructuring the entire municipality and coordination among the departments to avoid the re-work appears to be key to save an enormous amount wasted. Mainly due to the lack of coordination between the departments leaving a huge vacuum and that’s becoming a breeding ground for unhealthy minds. The consultants like TATA etc., with the help of town planning department and also importantly cancelling out all the bulk-water supply contracts maintained by local individual colony wel(l)-fare associations/builders/contractors etc., in the first place, are very likely to bring a sea change in the system. There appear to be a lot of loose ends where municipalities loosing good revenue and we believe that it is the high time and a great opportunity to the Country to strengthen the institutions, protect the revenues and eventually these institutions will become self-sufficient, so that every citizen in this country will get and enjoy the clean drinking water delivered directly into their homes, efficient garbage disposal and recycling and well maintained drainages etc. It is the time, Sir, to strengthen the foundations for the comfortable, healthy and happy living of the citizens upon whom desperately depending, as you know, ‘the country & global economy’.

——————————————————————————————

* “awareness program”:

  • US. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) states that, (quote and unquote) “…Research has shown that the campaigns are effective in raising awareness about the existence of child maltreatment and its devastating impact on victims. However, there is not yet conclusive evidence to show that public awareness campaigns change the attitudes and behaviors of parents...”
  • Despite Information, Education and Communication (IEC) activities to give publicity about the anti-tobacco legislation for discouraging consumption of cigarettes and related products, number of cases are continuously increasing. More than a quarter of the Indian population is addicted to tobacco usage, not to mention the price paid by the innocent passive smokers and their loved ones. The only way to control its usage, it appears at present, is to impose a total ban the industry and explore alternative sources to fill the revenue deficit.
  • Awareness can be created, reminded rather, by ordering the mobile providers (under Corporate Social Responsibility) to send SMS once a week or so. It appears almost every citizen in this country may not have access to clean toilets and drinking water but, it appears, is maintaining one Cell Phone at least.

Thanking You, Sir, in advance

Realizing Incredible India Through Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

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