New Delhi: Lakhs of central government employees Thursday took a pledge to ensure cleanliness in their offices and residential areas by working at least two hours per week as part of Narendra Modi administration's "Swachh Bharat" Mission.
Each central government department had made detailed arrangements to administer the pledge to its employees on the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary today.
It is for the first time that all employees from the level of peons to Secretary were called to the office on 'Gandhi Jayanti', which is otherwise a government-declared holiday, to be part of the 'Clean India' campaign.
Banners displaying message of maintaining cleanliness at work place and surroundings were put up on the central government office buildings and along the road sides to encourage people.
Some of the employees were also given specially-designed T-shirts displaying messages for maintaining cleanliness.
Home Secretary Anil Goswami administered the pledge to the employees of Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Personnel. Hundreds of employees participated in the programme and took the pledge.
"It is like a celebration. Employees are celebrating this. Cleanliness is a continuous process. I am sure employees will continue to ensure cleanliness in office and in living areas," said Mamta Kundra, Joint Secretary in Ministry of Personnel.
There are about 30.98 lakh central government employees in the country.
Employees took a pledge to remain committed towards cleanliness. "I will devote 100 hours per year, that is two hours per week to voluntary work for cleanliness. I will neither litter nor let others litter. I will initiate the quest for cleanliness with myself, my family, my locality, my village and my work place," reads the pledge, administered to the employees by senior officials.
The Prime Minister has given a call for "Swachh Bharat" (Clean India) as a mass movement to realise Mahatma Gandhi's dream of a clean India by 2019, when the country will celebrate 150th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation.
"I will encourage 100 other persons to take this pledge which I am taking today. I will endeavour to make them devote their 100 hours for cleanliness," as per the text of the pledge.
Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth had written to secretaries of all central government departments to create awareness on the matter and ensure that the pledge is administered to employees working under them.
"For a campaign of this nature to be successful, there is a need to create massive public awareness and to ensure participation and action for cleaning homes, government offices, schools, hospitals, work places, streets, roads and markets, railway stations and bus terminals, statues, monuments, rivers, lakes,ponds, parks and other public places.
"It is important to involve government and public sector officials at every level, non-government organisations, education and health institutions, rural and urban local bodies, Self-Help Groups, youth organisations, residents and market associations as well as business and industrial chambers and associations in the cleanliness and awareness drives," Seth had said in his letter.