President, V-P to promote Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

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President, V-P to promote Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
Ram Nath Kovind (L), Venkaiah Naidu

The President and the Vice-President of India will actively participate in the Swachh Bharat campaign – a first, since the top two constitutional figures have historically kept away from government programmes.

The Centre is set to organise a series of activities across the country in the run up to Gandhi Jayanti on October 2, with an eye on furthering its message on its cleanliness campaign, the Swachh Bharat Mission. While President Ram Nath Kovind will officially launch the 'Swachhta Hi Seva' programme in Kanpur on September 15, sources said that the Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu is taking a keen interest in planning the fortnight-long activities under the programme.

Naidu will be present at a 'Swachhta' in Karnataka's Bidar on September 17, which will be followed by a nationwide 'shramdaan' or voluntary cleanliness drive, and a telecast of the film 'Toilet Ek Prem Katha' on Doordarshan.
During his tenure as the Union minister for housing and urban affairs, Naidu had put special emphasis on the Swachh Bharat Mission by conducting cleanliness surveys to encourage competition among cities. He even started ranking them on cleanliness.

The V-P had been vocal about the importance of making Swachh Bharat Mission a "jan andolan" and was instrumental in organising the Swachh Short Film Festival to create awareness about the mission through celluloid.

As part of the launch programme, President Kovind will visit Ishwariganj village to honour five people who played a key role in making the area an open-defecation free. The same will be attended by Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanth.

Other programmes planned under the 'Swachhta Hi Seva' programme include activities such as 'shauchalaya nirman' (toilet construction) and 'shramdaan' by not just citizens, but also panchayats, municipal bodies, youth, defence personnel, women and children, on September 24. Swachh Bharat Mission ambassadors, corporates and other voluntary organisations will also participate in the activities.

On September 25, a Sarvatra Swachhta programme has been planned, which would include large-scale cleaning of hospitals, parks, statues, bus stops, railway stations, ponds and public toilets across the country.

While cleanliness drives at iconic places, with before and after pictures, will be carried out on October 1, the programme will conclude on October 2 with the national Swachh Bharat Awards.

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