Centre ropes in pensioners for success of Clean India drive

New Delhi: About 58 lakh pensioners are being roped in by the Centre for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ambitious 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan' to ensure that the target of total sanitation is met by October, 2019.

The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions has written to all central government pensioners' associations across the country to be part of 'Clean India fortnight' to sensitise their members on cleanliness in their neighbourhood. Those interested in being part of the programme will be asked to devote 100 hours per year--i.e. two hours per week.

"It is a key initiative to improve health and cleanliness in the nation. In order to succeed, it has to become a people's movement by ensuring sustainable change in the behaviour of citizens.

"It is, therefore, important that all efforts are made to mobilise people's participation and to ensure that the mission truly becomes a citizens' movement," the Ministry said in a letter to the associations.

Central government pensioners are a very significant constituent of society in view of their numbers, geographical spread and important position in society, it said.

"You can make a great contribution and impact in society in various ways. It is suggested that various activities relating to Swachhta such as cleaning of surroundings, organising workshops, cleanliness drives etc be organised. Award functions etc in associations, social clubs, resident welfare associations may be organised," the letter said. There are about 58 lakh central government pensioners in the country.

The pensioners have been asked to organise a mass pledge by members of their associations. "I will devote 100 hours per year that is two hours per week to voluntary work for cleanliness. I will neither litter nor let others to litter," reads the pledge. They have also been asked to share photographs of works being done by them in this regard.

"Join hands with the government in this noble mission and continue to contribute to the well being of the nation and society!," the Ministry said.

The Clean India Fortnight is to be observed between May 16-31.

Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha had recently written to all secretaries of central government ministries, explaining them the "range, intensity and visibility" of Clean India Mission related activities that needed to be increased significantly.

Swachh Bharat Mission was launched on October 2, 2014 to achieve total sanitation and cleanliness by 2019.

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