Can ‘Clean India’ Clean India? No Way.

Dog defecating on a road in India
Dog defecating on a road in India

After the initial ballyhoo, Narendra Modi doesn’t know what to do with this ‘Clean India’ thing which has become an albatross around his neck.

By Rakesh Raman

Rakesh Raman
Rakesh Raman

More often than not, Bollywood movies are made for the intellectually challenged Indian hoi polloi. And, in particular, actresses have hardly any role in these movies. But those who can reveal more than what they conceal are plopped into Indian films as flesh-and-blood ornaments to have some tantalizing impact on the fans.

That’s okay. Why should we peep into their personal lives? We shouldn’t. However, it was a little different this time. A Bollywood actress with the name Priyanka Chopra had a role – a real role in real life. Of late, Priyanka took to a broom and was seen cleaning dirty streets of India.

I admired her, as she did a good job. And from the day I saw her in this cleaning campaign in India, I have stopped cleaning my home with the hope that the Bollywood beauty will turn up and clean my home, too. Alas, she didn’t. And she won’t.

Why? Because she is not serious about this work. She was being used temporarily in the Clean India Campaign (Swachh Bharat Abhiyan) that the Indian Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi has started just to create a hype around his so-called governance.

Prime Ministers – like emperors – have expensive hobbies. And PM Modi has chosen ‘Clean India’ as one of his hobbies and he is going to squander nearly Rs. 62,000 crore (US$ 10 billion) of public funds on this project, which is expected to have a zero outcome. India will continue to be a dirty country.

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Modi is not the first politician in India who is going to waste public money on this project aimed to clean Indian streets and roads. He has only hijacked the idea of the previous Congress government, which had started the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (which is again Clean India Campaign or Swachh Bharat Abhiyan).

While another Bollywood actress Vidya Balan was the campaign ambassador for the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan, Modi has handpicked his favorite Priyanka Chopra. While Modi doesn’t mind lifting the ideas because he himself lacks ideas, he has rebranded the whole project just to sound original.

Priyanka Chopra is not alone; a few more idle Indian actors were part of this royal gimmick that is intended to bamboozle the Indian voters.

But after the initial ballyhoo, Modi doesn’t know what to do with this ‘Clean India’ thing which has become an albatross around his neck. Trouble is, he can’t lift the implementation idea from the previous government because Congress too failed in implementing its Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan.

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None of these projects that demand the involvement of masses can succeed in India because Indians are illiterate – some are uneducated illiterates and surprisingly many are educated illiterates. They don’t want to live in a disciplined atmosphere.

Open defecation by people and their pets, littering on roads, and spitting in public places are among the rituals in India. There are millions of stray dogs in every street of India; they are constantly spreading animal filth everywhere.

Education of people can help overcome these and many other administrative challenges, as only educated people can understand the messaging behind such massive government campaigns.

But Modi can’t understand the importance of education because he himself is not quite educated. That’s why instead of first improving the education paradigm in India, he has preferred to go heels over head, and decided to waste government resources on ‘Clean India’.

Modi’s lack of interest in education can be seen in his decision to appoint an uneducated politician as the education minister of India. With his crude approach toward governance, Modi might succeed to woo his dumb fans, but he won’t be able to deliver the right governance.

‘Clean India’ is one of those tricks through which Modi seeks attention. Otherwise, it has neither any beginning nor any end. There was no return on investment (RoI) analysis done before earmarking such a huge amount for the project. There are no targets fixed which could be measured empirically. There are no accountability parameters defined for which Modi could be questioned.

Then how will ‘Clean India’ clean India? It can’t and it won’t. So, ‘Clean India‘ is clearly headed for the graveyard of those government projects that couldn’t live up to their hype. Don’t you agree?

By Rakesh Raman, the managing editor of RMN Company

You also can read: More Articles by the RMN Editor, Rakesh Raman

This article is part of our editorial initiative called REAL VOTER that covers political developments in India. Click here to visit REAL VOTER.

Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

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Rakesh Raman