New Delhi: Initiating a campaign under 'Swachh Bharat Mission', Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan Monday appealed to employees of state-run FCI to dedicate 100 hours every year to keep cities and towns clean.
Paswan, who swept the area outside FCI headquarters here, said there is no respect for sweepers in India unlike developed countries and that needs to be changed.
Stating that the cleanliness drive is not symbolic, Paswan said: "When the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers are holding brooms to clean up the area, it is not symbolic. The government's aim is to make this a mass movement."
He appealed to over 36,000 employees of Food Corporation of India (FCI) to join the campaign and keep their homes, offices, neighbourhood, town and cities spick and span.
"The government expects FCI officials to dedicate 100 hours every year to keep their cities and towns clean," he said, adding that participation in such drives highlights the dignity of labour also.
Stressing on the need to respect sweepers, Paswan said: "In developed countries, a sweeper is equally respected but not so in India. A person who does the work of sweeping is associated with caste here. He is considered to be low-caste."
The Minister said he would participate in the 'Swachh Bharat Mission' to be launched on October 2 by the Prime Minister at his constituency in Hajipur, Bihar.