The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, recently launched awareness and sensitisation campaign ‘Clean India’ which will be implemented from April 2012 as part of the 12th five year plan initiatives for tourism. The campaign seeks to bring together media, government departments, NGOs, academia and the stakeholders of the travel industry and encourage active participation for promoting cleanliness initially at tourist spots and ultimately, throughout the country.
In the workshop organised during the launch of the campaign Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, former President of India said that an integrated and coordinated effort was required on the part of the different ministries to achieve the objective. He also stressed on extending the cleanliness drive to worship places besides involving students, village panchayats and local self bodies in the campaign. Referring to the Maldives model of tourism, Kalam said India could study this model and evolve a total package of turn key tourist systems to be developed by tourist system partners which should include maintenance and upkeep of tourist destinations. Subodh Kant Sahai, Union Minister for Tourism said that although India has everything to attract tourists, untidy and unhygienic surroundings around popular destinations resulted in a negative image of the destination and the country as a whole. While the initial emphasis of the campaign is on tourist destinations in the country, the ultimate objective of the campaign is to see a clean India. An independent study conducted at five tourist destinations has categorized hygiene and sanitation conditions, solid waste management and provision of hygienically maintained public amenities high in importance but low in satisfaction. The campaign will therefore correct these weaknesses.
Urging for commitment and discipline to achieve the goal of creating a Clean India, Dinesh Trivedi, Union Minister for Railways said that there was direct relationship between poverty, education, and cleanliness. “The most daunting task of the Railways is not safety and security, but keeping the train and station surroundings neat and tidy,” he said. Measures are being taken to keep trains and stations clean. The government is also planning for a separate authority along the lines of the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to manage the railway stations in the country.