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Swachh Bharat Abhiyan then and now: Has India become cleaner?

With one year having elapsed since Narendra Modi launched his ambitious Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, here’s a look at how some places have fared.

india Updated: Oct 01, 2015 21:10 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Narendra Modi wields a broom with NDMC workers to launch 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan' in Valmiki Basti in New Delhi. on October 2nd, 2014. Has one of modern India’s most  ambitious civic schemes been successful?
Narendra Modi wields a broom with NDMC workers to launch 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan' in Valmiki Basti in New Delhi. on October 2nd, 2014. Has one of modern India’s most ambitious civic schemes been successful?(PTI Photo)

It has been one year since Prime Minister Narendra Modi swept a road at a New Delhi neighbourhood to launch one of India’s most ambitious civic programmes yet - the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

Modi’s personal involvement, and his clever use of celebrities to promote his scheme, helped galvanise support for a daunting task: to make a country which accounts for 60% of the world’s open defecation clean.

The initial few months of Swachh Bharat seemed to follow Modi’s lead, with well-publicised cleanliness campaigns complementing public cleaning drives that brought together ministers, bureaucrats and civil society with the common man.

The ground reality one year later , however, presents a very different picture, one that indicates that the movement has had a minimal impact.

Mandir Marg, New Delhi

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi wields the broom during a surprise visit to the Mandir Marg Police Station after the launch of 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan' in New Delhi. (PIB File Photo)
A fountain at Mandir Marg, one of the areas that Prime Minister Modi swept in a surprise visit during last year’s launch of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. (Raj K Raj/ HT Photo)

Jantar Mantar, New Delhi

Dr Mahesh Chaturvedi, dressed as Mahatma Gandhi, sweeps Jantar Mantar road last year as a way of promoting Swachh Bharat. (Raj K Raj/HT Photo)
Residents sit and chat on a noticeably cleaner Jantar Mantar in 2015. (Raj K Raj/HT Photo)

Dadar Beach, Mumbai

VJTI College students participate in a nationwide cleanliness campaign 'Swachh Bharat Mission' on the occasion of Gandhi Jyanti at Dadar Beach, 2014. (Kunal Patil/HT Photo)
How Dadar beach looks in 2015. A popular leisure spot for locals and visitors to Mumbai alike, Dadar beach is still dirty, with discarded garbage strewn over its once clean sands. (Pramod Thakur/HT Photo)

CST, Mumbai

Minster of state for railways Manoj Sinha at sweeping Mumbai’s iconic CST railway station in Mumbai in 2014. (HT Photo)
People walk outside Chhatrapati Shivaji Station in 2015. (Kunal Patil/HT Photo)

Krishnapura Chhatri, Indore

BJP MLA Usha Thakur (centre) sweeping the floor at Krishnapura Chhatri premises in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, in 2014. (HT Photo)
How Krishnapura Chhatri’s surroundings look like in 2015. The temple complex was one of the first areas targeted by the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in Indore. (Arun Mondhe/ HT Photo)

Patnipura Square, Indore

An inner lane near Patanipura square, strewn with garbage and discarded refuse in Indore, 2014. (Amit K Jaiswal/HT Photo)
The same square seen in 2015, after a year of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. (Arun Mondhe/HT Photo)

Jaipur, Rajasthan

DGP Omendra Bharadwaj and senior police officials participate in a cleanliness drive in Jaipur, Rajasthan in 2014, during the first few months of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. (HT Photo)
A heap of garbage at the site where senior police officials cleaned the streets near Jaipur’s Police Headquarters as part of the launch of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (HT Photo)