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Govt Plans Awareness Campaign against Single-use Plastic as Part of 150th Gandhi Jayanti Celebrations

An executive committee formed to commemorate 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, met last week and finalised a series of programmes which will be conducted from September 11 to October 10.

Amitabh Sinha | News18

Updated:September 4, 2019, 7:39 PM IST
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Govt Plans Awareness Campaign against Single-use Plastic as Part of 150th Gandhi Jayanti Celebrations
PM Narendra Modi delivers Independence Day speech from Red Fort.
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New Delhi: Organising mass awareness campaign against social evils has been a hallmark of Prime Minister Modi’s governance. Be it Swachhta campaign, which was his first such move after taking charge in 2014, or making India open defecation-free, Modi was bang on target. Now, as the nation celebrates 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the Prime Minister has announced a mass campaign to get rid of single-use plastic.

The campaign announced by Modi from the rampant of the Red Fort during his Independence Day speech is slowly gaining acceptance and has the potential to turn into a mass campaign. Taking a cue from his style of campaign, the program has been merged with the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi, aiming to ensure maximum people’s participation thus make it a success.

An executive committee under the chairmanship of PM Modi, which was formed to commemorate 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, met last week and finalised a series of programmes which will be conducted from September 11 to October 10. Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman are also part of the committee.

Culture Minister Prahlad Patel and leader of the opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad were present in the meeting. The meeting, which was also attended by eight eminent Gandhians, reviewed the year-long celebrations that began in 2018 to mark 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.

Government, earlier, had organised an international sanitation convention in which representatives of 70 countries including 55 ministers had gathered to learn from India’s sanitation experience. A large number of padayatras, cycle yatras, youth exchange programmes, plays by school and college students, nukkad natak, essay and drawing competitions, debates, quiz, plantation of trees, seminars, workshops, lectures, Gandhi Katha, inter-faith prayers and health camps were organised to propagate Gandhi’s life and message.

The most successful programmes were:

—National Salt Satyagraha Memorial at Dandi inaugurated on January 30, 2019.

—All tableaux in Republic Day Parade 2019 were Gandhi themed. Videos of ‘Vaishnav Jan’ sung by famous singers at iconic places from 155 countries prepared and publicised.

—24,173 manual scavengers rehabilitated and 6792 skilled.

—Leprosy Eradication Campaign was intensified and 60,030 self-care kits and 82,984 footwear distributed across the country.

—1424 inmates released under special remission on October 2 .2018 and April 4, 2019.

—120 iconic buildings were illuminated across the world on October 2, 2018.

—Gandhian literature has been digitized for making it accessible to youth.

The committee has also asked all the ministries to get an assessment done on how these activities had impacted the common man. The Prime Minister-led committee also discussed the activities planned by various ministries that will be taken upon and around October 2.

Meanwhile, the government has planned awareness programmes in 4000 towns and 6 lakh villages all over the country regarding single-use plastic. The campaign, which will begin on September 11 and continue till October 1, includes collecting and disposing of plastic waste.

On October 2, there will be a nationwide volunteering works for plastic waste disposal in all gram panchayats, urban local bodies, schools, railways, and highways.

Recalling Mahatma Gandhi’s initiatives on cleanliness, PM Modi had given a call to shun single-use plastic waste in his Independence Day speech this year to save environment for future generations. Now, the entire government machinery and the BJP is trying to make it a mass movement as a tribute to the Father of Nation. The government departments, Parliament, Railways have already stopped the usage of single-use plastic.

From October 3 to October 27, the government has planned a series of activities across the country including transportation of collected waste, segregation and recycle/disposal of the waste in 4000 cities and 6 lakh villages in the country.

On October 2, there will be a grand function at Sabarmati riverfront in Ahmedabad in which commemorative coins and a postage stamp of Gandhi will be released. More than 1,50,000 cyclists will travel across India in October in a bid to create awareness on Jan Andolan against plastic waste.

Government’s campaign against single-use plastic will not be limited to India alone. It is also planning to unveil Gandhi busts in over 54 countries. There will be an international conference at United Nations on September 24 where PM Modi is likely to speak on Gandhian ideology and sustainable development goals. National handicrafts fair will be organized with a theme depicting Gandhi.

If this Jan Andolan to shun single-use plastic in the name of Gandhi turns out to be successful, it will be another feather in the cap for Prime Minister Modi.

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