22 November 2019
New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party member Prabhat Jha moved the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2017 (amendment of article 51A) in the Upper House on Friday seeking to make cleanliness a fundamental duty and called for a mass movement to propagate the message of Clean India.
Jha demanded that cleanliness be made a fundamental duty under Article 51A of the Constitution. The discussion on the bill remained inconclusive and Urban Development Minister Hardeep Puri will reply next week.
"Swachh Bharat mission should be a part of the fundamental duties and for that there is a need to amend the Constitution. It should be made a national campaign," said Jha adding that India has become open defecation free and it is only because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who worked tirelessly towards it.
"Over 10 crore toilets have been constructed in the country so far under the Swachh Bharat Mission which has led to lesser cases of diarrhoea. Around three lakh lives are being saved every year due to less prevalence of this disease," Jha said.
Jha said that the country should learn from Mahatma Gandhi in creating awareness about cleanliness in the country and from Sulabh International Founder Bindeshwar Pathak, for working tirelessly in the field.
"One has to have a passion to make India clean, then only it is possible. We from the US, from Britain, from Thailand, from Mauritius, we keep on talking about cleanliness there. Isn't this cleaning happening in India? Why?" questioned Jha adding that the time has come for a mass movement.
Congress member PL Punia said the issue of cleanliness should be kept above party politics. He reminded the House that during the UPA government cleanliness was taken up in mission mode under Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan. "So the issue should be kept out of political framework," said Punia.
He added that lakhs of toilets built under the Swachh Bharat Mission do not have water facility and they are now used as stores. He said that claiming India became open defecation free is like any other 'jumla'. "It is not the truth," the Congress member said.
The RJD's Manoj Kumar Jha asked about mental cleanliness as well. "Swachhta would only look good if mental cleanliness is also there. It is now that we hear people praising the murderer of Mahatma Gandhi. This was not earlier. We need to introspect where we are," said Jha.
Congress member L Hanumanthaiah claimed that the clean India drive was started by the UPA government under Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan. "We are following the principles of Gandhiji, but according to recent reports, the number of people carrying human excreta on their head is around two lakhs. What about them. They are not even paid minimum wages," Hanumanthaiah said.
Another Congress member Anee Yajnik said that there is a need to inculcate humanity among the people, which is now missing.
Many other members also spoke on the issue. The discussion remained inconclusive and will resume next week.