It was heartening to see that our Prime Minister actually thought that India needs cleaning, literally. I would love him for this all my life- he saw a problem and addressed it. Not many administrators do that.
Many frowned at this idea. We are accustomed of trash everywhere- so much so that we actually stop noticing it anymore. Most railway stations smelled like toilet until recently and were unbearable. People spat everywhere. Within an hour at one of the Delhi railway stations, while I was waiting for a train, I counted >100 people spitting . In addition, I have witnessed trash being dumped onto Delhi roads from moving cars/SUVs in broad daylight (none had the common sense of keeping a trash bag in their cars!).
Dr. V. S. Naipaul wrote about India’s hygiene problem in his book ‘An Area of Darkness’ and that book was banned in India. If we need to solve a problem, we first need to identify the problem. That’s how scientific logic goes. We do not need to be defensive and fight back for everything in the name of national pride. Trash is a problem in India. Clean toilets and people spitting everywhere is a problem in India. And for the first time ever, we have a Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi who talked about cleaning India. Mahatma Gandhi thought about it too. That’s what makes both of these people timeless leader.
Government is putting in a lot of efforts to create awareness on this issue, and a lot of change has already happened. However, I have felt that the government circulars about cleanliness drives are failing to make an impact and these cleanliness drives have become a huge waste of time and money. No one remembers the pledged 100 hours of cleaning each year.
What can we do then? I am sure administrators are thinking about solutions, but here are my 25 cents-
1. Improve the basic sanitation and waste management infrastructure from waste collection to waste disposal. Hire enough people to make this infrastructure work.
2. Impose pinching fines and penalties on anyone caught deliberately littering the streets and public spaces. Impose higher fines if these people are educated and well-off.
3. Tackle basic issues of poverty and illiteracy. A poor and hungry person would never care about cleanliness. Its plain common sense.
I am witnessing the change happening. And, I thank you for thinking about making India clean Mr. Prime Minister.