Prime Minister Modi started the Clean India campaign a few days ago.He lamented that while Indians had the capacity to send satellites to Mars, they were lacking the ability to keep the country clean. This has been an Indian paradox, for along time.It has the world.s third largest scientific manpower pool in the world, but it is unable to tackle basic sanitation issues. Its streets are filthy beyond imagination. Its slums are virtual hell holes.Is there hope for a clean India or is it going to be a mere photo opportunity for upwardly mobile politicians and page three crowd.Clean India is possible provided bold and innovative measures are taken on a war footing.
Lets take Dharvi, India’s largest slum located in Mumbai. A recent estimate puts the cost of its redevelopment at Rs 16,000 crores. Now the issue is as to how the government is going to raise that kind of finances.A new way to infuse funds into slum redevelopment project would be to give massive tax cuts to the companies and individuals who participate in this project. Supposing the cost of constructing a small 550 sft is 20 lakhs, the company or individual coming forward to build should be given tax benefit to the tune of 30 lakhs. This would spur investment in this sector. The govt must provide drawings and land to the developer.Once this is done, one can see a massive influx of funds into slum development.Persons with unaccounted wealth should be encouraged to take up this project, with the promise of immunity from prosecution.
Next, is the need to create a All India Sanitation Service. Today every city has its own Municipality and the quality of service provided varies from city to city.There is need for homogeneity and professionalism.We need to have stringent laws to deal with littering . The Singapore method of imposing heavy fines and also canning may be introduced. Repeat offenders should be canned in public and also made to clean toilets in full public view. Unless shock treatment is given, there is no hope of India becoming a Clean Nation.