1 Year of Modi Govt: Govt gets its hands dirty with 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan'

PM’s Clean India Mission has managed to create considerable awareness among citizens with high-decibel multi-media campaigns, but to make it a real success is a tall order, says advertising and marketing fraternity

e4m by Sarmistha Neogy
Updated: May 19, 2015 8:51 AM
1 Year of Modi Govt: Govt gets its hands dirty with 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan'

‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’- the cleanliness mission started by PM Narendra Modi on October 2, last year is said to be one of the biggest ever cleanliness drives, where the PM himself was seen cleaning the roads. He exhorted every Indian citizen to dedicate 100 hours a year or about two hours a week for voluntary cleanliness work. The government itself will spend over Rs 62,000 crore on the programme. Even though, the campaign aims to accomplish the vision of a 'Clean India' by October 2, 2019, on the 150th birthday of Gandhi, we find out the progress of the campaign so far as Modi government completes a year on May 26, 2015.

The ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign aims to eradicate the system of open defecation in India, to convert the insanitary toilets into pour flush toilets, to remove the system of manual scavenging, to make people aware of healthy sanitation practices by bringing behavioural changes in people, to link people with the programmes of sanitation and public health in order to generate public awareness, to build up the urban local bodies strong in order to design, execute and operate all systems related to cleanliness, to completely start the scientific processing, disposals reuse and recycling the Municipal Solid Waste and to provide required environment for the private sectors to get participated in the Capital Expenditure for all the operations and maintenance costs related to the Clean India campaign.

To help achieve the following objectives, Modi nominated well known people across fields and entrusted them with the responsibility of taking the mission forward. Nominees like Sachin Tendulkar, Priyanka Chopra, Baba Ramdev, Kamal Hasan, Sashi Tharoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan, Aamir Khan, comedian Kapil Sharma, the entire cast of the serial Taarak Mehta Ka Ooltah Chashmah and others have helped the Abhiyan grow.

Corporates have also jumped into the Modi bandwagon and brands like L&T, DLF, Vedanta, Bharti, TCS, Ambuja Cements, Toyota Kirloskar, Maruti, Tata Motors, Coca Cola, Dabur, Infosys, Reckitt Benckiser and others have earmarked budgets for the ‘Swachh Bharat’ project which plans to clean up their surroundings, build toilets and support the mission. Also in a bid to invite corporate funds the government announced in 2015 Budget that corporate contributions under this initiative will now be counted as CSR spend.

Dettol and NDTV have tied hands for their campaign ‘Har Sapna Sach Karega India, Banega Swachh India’. It is a 5 year ambitious program to address the need of improving hygiene and sanitation in India, making a commitment to invest a sum of Rs 100 crore towards this initiative across the next 5 years. Through a series of actions under this program, Dettol has spread the message of hygiene and sanitation to over 140 million people in the country and raised Rs 281 crore through a 12 hour fund raising ‘Cleanathon’ with NDTV in December 2014.

Reportedly a budget of around Rs 170 crore was allocated to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) for the advertising of this initiative.  In order to support the Swachh Bharat initiative, Grey India conceptualised a TVC for MIB with an intension to start embarrassing offenders (those who have no qualms about littering and throwing garbage on the streets, urinating in public and not contributing towards the social responsibility of keeping the nation clean).

Click here to view the ad:

Adman Prasoon Joshi has penned the lyrics for a radio anthem on Swachh Bharat titled ‘Swachh Bharat Ka Irada Kar Liya Hum Ne’, which was sung by Kailash Kher.

Click here to hear the song:

JWT has worked on a film for the insurance giant LIC as it partners with ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ and ‘Housing’ for all by 2022 last month.

Brands like FastTrack have indirectly touched upon the cleanliness topic in their campaign ‘Dump Them-Move On’ which was done by Lowe Lintas. The TVC throws light on how to deal with social irritants who love littering the place around, in fact perfectly attuned with the brand’s philosophy of being fashionable and cool.

Click here to view the ad:

We spoke to spoke to a few well-known names from the advertising and marketing fraternity for their views on the progress of the ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign.

Sunil Lulla, Chairman & Managing Director, Grey Group India

According to the comprehensive survey done by Times of India and IPSOS, the ‘Swachh Bharat’ initiative from the Government is seen as the most effective and the most accepted one across cities and age groups. Many corporates have picked up the theme and created awareness and initiative drives. The common man on the street I believe is far more conscious today and is sensitive to ensuring she/he does not create litter.

Grey group is very proud to be associated with the Swachh Bharat campaign. Many NGOs have mentioned how they have showcased the work to their constituents. It’s been noticed and talked about. The idea of both ‘shaming people’ and then ‘identifying your own nook to keep it clean’ has clearly addressed the common concern and need for no littering. It’s a large vision, a huge task to change time hardened attitudes, but it has begun on a great note.

KV Sridhar aka Pops, Chief Creative Officer, SapientNitro

The campaign had a humble beginning, because right now there is awareness on the issue and the corporates have also dealt smartly and efficiently. But, the government, nominees and the citizens have been a complete disappointment. So the second leg of the campaign will require a need to change the behaviour which is inbuilt in us. In India, our civic sense is very low and children try to inculcate and imitate things they see around. Imposing fines or being strict won’t be of any use as people can pay the fine and get away with it. What needs to be done is that the NGO, advertising and the TV community should together to fight this menace out, like they had done for polio. It took around 10 years no doubt, but there was constant pressure from all the sides. The one brand involved in the Swachh Bharat initiative, which comes to the top of my mind is Dettol as they have been doing too many things around it. Even though, it looks quite force-fitting and opportunist at times.

Prathap Suthan, CCO, Bang in the Middle

When a country is dark and there is no light, and someone tries to light a candle, differences are supposed to come in. We are all basically dirty people, everybody knows how important cleanliness is, but no one will do it. The start of this campaign has been a good one, but after that, it is the job of the government machinery to come in and take it forward. I can ensure that I will maintain cleanliness, but it has to be backed by solid government support also. Creating interest and attention is one thing, but when you are dealing with a huge country like India, there should be more to it. The good thing however, is that the movement has started, but the final power is in the invisible hands of the government.

Saurabh Dasgupta, ECD, Innocean Worldwide

In my environment I haven’t seen the Swachh Bharat initiative working yet. Yes, the intention is there, roadmap is also drawn, but the movement is yet to start. Even though it is quite early and will be wrong to cast aspersions on the government at this stage, but for anything to be effective, work needs to be done at two levels. First, each one of us has to contribute in our small ways to help this initiative move forward and secondly, there has to be a kind of enforcement, to make the campaign operative. What lacks is percolation and sensitivity needs to be there, right from the top to bottom of the government machinery. The advertising community did make a try, but it seems the effort has also fizzled out a bit.

Arun Iyer, National Creative Director of Lowe Lintas and Partners

The message of Swachh Bharat or Clean India Mission has landed very clearly and the phrase has become very popular. So popularity-wise it is on the rise, but if you ask me about its effectiveness, it is too early to comment on it. Yes, brands and the advertising community are getting onto the Swachh Bharat bandwagon because it is quite a seamless integration, but from the relatability aspect, it is still to be seen. So the entire campaign, started with great steam, but whether it will hold on or is just a passing fad, only time will say.

Ashish Khazanchi, Managing Partner, Enormous Brands

The Swachh Bharat message is a cultural thing and any change will take time. The TVC which was launched ridiculing people for making the place dirty didn’t seem to strike a chord with me. There are placards and stickers all around promoting the Swachh Bharat campaign, but my question is –Is there enough infrastructure around me?

Prasanna Sankhe, Founder & Creative Head, HYPHEN- an affiliate company of ANC (Alok Nanda & Company)

The campaign when it was launched in October last year, made a lot of splash. The PR work was really good, but whether the government followed it up or not, is still to be seen. It is a lot of work, because it involves a change in mind-set. The problem in urban areas is that they lack apathy and in rural areas, they lack infrastructure. So change is not easy! Brands did play their part during this time, but none of them can actually own this property, because Modi’s voice itself is so strong in this.

Jagdeep Kapoor, Chairman & Managing Director, Samsika Marketing Consultants

Brand Modi is an outstanding success as a brand not only nationally but also internationally. Modi is clearly positioned as a world leader and has been accepted and acknowledged successfully, by other world leaders and the global audience. His initiative of ‘Swachh Bharat’ has been a terrific winning success, with it entering the minds and hearts of people, whether it be young or old, rich or poor or Indian residents or NRIs.

The campaign has succeeded mainly on three levels; on the physical level, awareness and implementation of cleanliness across the country has been a winner. On the spiritual level cleanliness of the mind and it being close to Godliness, has had a very good impact. On the economic level, ‘Swachh Bharat’ also signifies cleaning up the system. All in all, Brand Modi and his ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign have been highly effective and very successful.”

So the ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign has kick-started on a high note, awareness on the issue of cleanliness has spread all over, it also has huge potential but whether it will reach its desired goal is to be seen in the coming years.

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