Saturday, September 24, 2016

Vision of Clean India – Prospects and Challenges

The cleaner our surroundings are the healthier we feel. Cleanliness is something which is associated with our daily routine. We keep ourselves and our homes clean but when it comes to keep the whole country clean, the task becomes much more complex, hard and difficult to execute. The reason is when we talk about cleaning India it means everything –Clean Air, Clean Water, Clean Surroundings etc. So if we want to make India clean we have to deal with the issue on both micro and macro level.

When we talk about dealing with the problem of cleanliness at micro level (individual level), we are going to deal with below problems –

1. Social/Cultural Barriers
2. Attitude Barriers
3. Responsibility Barriers
4. Accountability Barriers

1. Social/Cultural Barriers – We Indians have a custom of discharging flowers, idols, sacred food etc. in our holy rivers as a part of professing our religious duties. While we are not deliberately polluting our rivers but we are polluting them. There are many more social and cultural customs of different communities which directly or indirectly pollutes the environment around us be it the air, river, pond, vegetation etc.

2. Attitude Barriers – We see people discharging the waste produced by them irresponsibly. How many times do we throw the biscuit rapper on road, our home waste in neighbours empty plot, throwing polybags in roadside sewerage lines which chokes the links creating problems. This irresponsible attitude needs to be removed.

3. Responsibility Barriers – We find ourselves blaming the municipality officers for not doing their duty properly. We blame everyone around us seldom realizing that cleanliness is everyone’s responsibility. As we clean our homes we can also clean our surroundings with little bit of collective efforts. This requires a forthcoming attitude not a blaming one. Eg. Can go for car pooling instead of driving alone.

4. Accountability Barriers – According to the size of the area and population, there are Municipal Corporation, Municipalities, Town Area Committees, Ward Councillors, Cantonments, Port Trusts, Township etc. All these work under the control of either Central Government of State Government and have a well defined hierarchy and jurisdiction. If a place/area has to be cleaned, the responsible officer has to act otherwise there should be penalty on him. The Citizen Charter should clearly mention whose jurisdiction it is so that accountability can be fixed and action can be taken.

Challenges at Macro Level –

1. Technological Barriers – At this time we are already very polluted be it air, water, sound etc. So in order to reduce and contain the already polluted environment appropriate technology is required which at present we do not possess.  There is a need for MOU's with countries like England who have successfully cleaned their heavily polluted river Thames.

2. Employment Needs Barriers - A big proportion of our population is unemployed. The major employers are industrial and manufacturing entities which cause all types of pollution in their operation. If employment has to be given these industries have to proliferate which will further put pressure on the vision of clean India. So somewhere a break even line has to be drawn.

3. Politician Corporate Nexus - Seldom there are allegations that a nexus has developed between politicians and corporates, with corporates taking care of politicians election time expenses and when elected politicians return the favour by granting project approvals without ensuring proper safeguards and checks. This tendency needs to be curbed.

4. Overaged Power Plants - Thermal Power Plants are one of the major polluters who discharge high temperature water causing temperature pollution and at the same time release pollutants like SO2, NO2, CO2 etc. in the atmosphere.

Many thermal power plants have become overage consuming more input and producing very less output. Thermal power is something which cannot be stopped but it should be ensured that its production is as efficient as possible. Recently the National Green Tribunal gave a decision to stop the operation of all overaged power plant in the National Capital Region area.

5. Lack of effective regulation - Many regulators are working in India. For eg. Central Pollution Control Board(CPCB), SPCB etc. but they have limited powers to act. There powers should be increased so that they can punish repeat offenders of cleanliness related laws like Air Pollution Act, Air Pollution Cess Act etc.

6. Management of E-Waste - E-Waste has become a huge problem nowadays as the use of electronic equipments has become ubiquitous nowadays. Thousands of tonnes of E-Waste is generated every year with no arrangements of being properly disposed. This E-Waste is highly toxic and sometimes radioactive also. The enactment of E-Waste Management and Regulation Bill which makes electronic equipment makers responsible for its disposal is a welcome step.

7. Lack of efficient mobility - We commute daily to office. Many people commute by car and bikes increasing the pollution pressure. Efficient mobility facilities in the area will encourage people to travel by bus, metro, local railway, shared taxi etc. The frequency and convenience of the transport is an important factor.

Solution and Prospects of Clean India -

1. Sustainable Development - Overutilization of natural resources should stop. We should go on according to the carrying capacity of the nature. Nature has self cleansing property and that can only be utilized if our consumption is controlled and regulated. Also it will not compromise the needs of the future generation.

2. Higher standards matching the developed countries success model - The decision of the present government to advance the date of implementation of BS VI norms in automobiles (cars) by 2020 is a step in the right direction. This model should be implemented in other appropriate fields as targeted implementation has the potential to get the results early.

3. Namami Gange project applied to other rivers also. The pollution of rivers of not only the problem of Ganga but almost all rivers of Indian subcontinent. Suitable plans taking into count local geology should be implemented.

4. Giving more powers to National Green Tribunal with wider representation and time based execution of judgement. Powers of NGT should be extended to all spheres relating to environment and representation should be given to environmentalists, scientists and civil society members. Also special focus should be given to the timely implementation and execution of NGT's judgements.

So summing up we can say that Clean India Vision can be obtained with a holistic strategy and concerted efforts with the involvement of all stakeholders.


  1. That's a wonderful read. It's very encouraging every time there's a progressive initiative project intended for the country. Envisioning for a greener and cleaner India is very good for the people and this will also come into fruition with everyone's cooperation. Thanks for the article and best regards from hope that you could visit us too sometime.

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