The Narendra Modi government is planning to harness the power of social media to ensure the success of its flagship Swachh Bharat, or clean India, campaign that was launched on October 2.
The next phase of this campaign will focus on naming and shaming those who have no qualms about urinating in public or throwing garbage on the streets.
The campaign will encourage people to photograph those littering their surroundings or urinating in public and upload those photos onto their Facebook and Twitter accounts and, perhaps, even on government websites.
The government is hoping once the idea catches on, it will cause embarrassment and humiliation to offenders exposed via social media, forcing them to change their habits.
Most towns and cities in India are littered with rubbish — the result of a combination of poor personal and public standards of hygiene as well as inadequate waste management.
In order to change widespread casual attitudes towards cleanliness and sanitation, top bureaucrats heading key ministries recently brainstormed on how to ratchet up the Swachh Bharat movement.
The sanitation ministry suggested that the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry hire the “best media agencies” for “behavioural change ads” to activate a “triggering mechanism” with a “largescale effect”.
The I&B ministry is now in the process of commissioning a series of ads that will popularise the concept of a social media campaign to expose offenders.
Habits such as open defecation are deeply entrenched, with less than third of the country’s population having access to toilets. According to a World Bank study, the burden from sanitation-linked diseases burden shaves off 2% of India’s potential GDP.