Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (English: Clean India Mission) is a campaign by the Government of India to clean the streets, roads and infrastructure of the country’s 4,041 statutory cities and towns. It includes ambassadors and activities such as run, national real-time monitoring or spread of updated NGOs practices.

The campaign was officially launched on 2 October 2014 at Rajghat, New Delhi, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is India’s largest ever cleanliness drive with 3 million government employees, and especially school and college students from all parts of India, participating in the campaign.

The objectives of Swachh Bharat are to reduce or eliminate open defecation through the construction of individual, cluster and community toilets. The Swachh Bharat mission will also make an initiative of establishing an accountable mechanism of monitoring latrine use.The government is aiming to achieve an Open-Defecation Free (ODF) India by 2 October 2019, the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, by constructing 12 million toilets in rural India, at a projected cost of ₹1.96 lakh crore (US$30 billion).


Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is a campaign which was launched on 2 October 2014, and aims to eradicate open defecation by 2019,and is a national campaign, covering 4,041 statutory cities and towns. Its predecessors were the “Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan” and before that the “Total Sanitation Campaign”, see history section below.

Times of India reported that the idea was developed and initiated in March 2014 after a sanitation conference was organised by Unicef India and the Indian Institute of Technology as part of the larger Total Sanitation Campaign, which the Indian government launched in 1999.

The government is aiming to achieve an Open-Defecation Free (ODF) India by 2 October 2019, the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, by constructing 12 million toilets in rural India, at a projected cost of ₹1.96 lakh crore (US$30 billion). Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke of the need for toilets in his 2014 Independence Day speech stating:

Has it ever pained us that our mothers and sisters have to defecate in open? Poor womenfolk of the village wait for the night; until darkness descends, they can`t go out to defecate. What bodily torture they must be feeling, how many diseases that act might engender. Can’t we just make arrangements for toilets for the dignity of our mothers and sisters?

Modi also spoke of the need for toilets in schools during the 2014 Jammu and Kashmir state elections campaign stating:

When the girl student reaches the age where she realises this lack of female toilets in the school she leaves her education midway. As they leave their education midway they remain uneducated. Our daughters must also get equal chance to quality education. After 60 years of independence there should have been separate toilets for girl students in every school. But for the past 60 years they could not provide separate toilets to girls and as result the female students had to leave their education midway.

As of May 2015, 14 companies including Tata Consulting Services, Mahindra Group and Rotary International have pledged to construct 3,195 new toilets. As of the same month, 71 public sector undertakings in India supported the construction of 86,781 new toilets.

Most of these toilets are a type of pit latrine, mostly the twin pit pour flush type.

Hundreds of thousands of Indian people are still employed as manual scavengers in emptying buckets and pit latrines.


The programme has also received funds and technical support from the World Bank, corporations as part of corporate social responsibility initiatives, and by state governments under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan schemes. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is expected to cost over ₹620 billion (US$9.6 billion). The government provides an incentive of ₹15,000 (US$230) for each toilet constructed by a BPL family. Total fund mobilized under Swachh Bharat Kosh (SBK) as of 31 January 2016 stood at ₹3.69 billion (US$57 million). An amount of ₹90 billion (US$1.4 billion) was allocated for the mission in the 2016 Union budget of India.

Government and the International Monetary Fund signed a US$1.5 billion loan agreement on 30 March 2016 for the Swachh Bharat Mission to support India’s universal sanitation initiative. The International Monetary Fund will also provide a parallel $25 million in technical assistance to build the capacity of select states in implementing community-led behavioral change programs targeting social norms to help ensure widespread usage of toilets by rural households.


Selected public figures

Modi selected 11 public figures to propagate this campaign. They are:

  • Sachin Tendulkar
  • Priyanka Chopra
  • Baba Ramdev
  • Salman Khan
  • Shashi Tharoor
  • Team of Tarak mehta ka ooltah chashmah
  • Mridula Sinha
  • Kamal Hasan
  • Virat Kohli
  • Mahendra Singh Dhoni
  • All the Citizens of India

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