We are all bound by a common mission to build a better world for our posterity: Vice President addresses Concluding Technical Plenary Session of Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention

New Delhi
October 1, 2018

Swachh Bharat Mission has transformed sanitation situation in the country;
India is on track to achieve open defecation free status by 2019;

The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that although we inhabit different geographical locations, we are all bound by a common mission, to build a better world for our posterity. He was addressing the Concluding Technical Plenary Session of Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Convention, here today. The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Yogi Adityanath, the Union Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation, Smt. Uma Bharti, the Deputy Minister of Water and Sanitation, South Africa, Ms. Pamela Tshwere and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

The Vice President said that the Father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi accorded highest priority to sanitation and cleanliness. He said, “Sanitation is more important than political freedom.” I feel very proud that in the past few years, India has made unprecedented progress towards achieving universal safe sanitation goals, he added.

The Vice President said that everybody from celebrities to the common man has selflessly participated and taken ownership of the programme, rather than treating it as a government-driven campaign. It is because of the missionary zeal with which everybody participated that the goal of a “Clean India” seems closer and real now, he added.

The Vice President said that we are a country of 1.2 billion people, large and complex. But the Swachh Bharat Mission has been the great unifier, has made remarkable progress and has transformed the sanitation situation in all parts of the country, he added.

The Vice President said that it is the result of a very intelligent and carefully planned campaign the clarion call for which was made by none other than the Prime Minister of the nation. He led from the front and his countrymen followed dutifully and wholeheartedly, he added.

Saying that there is still some distance to travel, the Vice President said that we are committed and India is on track to achieve open defecation free status by 2019 – the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. This is going to significantly contribute to the global achievement of SDG 6, he added.

The Vice President said that building toilets is only one and a physical aspect of this noble mission. But what is more important is a ‘cultural revolution’ and this culture of clean living has been heralded through intensive behaviour change campaigns, he added.

Saying that this is of foremost importance in the strategy for achieving cleanliness, the Vice President said that everyone from the Prime Minister to Bollywood stars to sports icons to the common man has participated in spreading the message. Change in mindset is the need of the hour, he added.

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