Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that rural India has declared itself Open Defecation Free (ODF) on the occasion of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, a target which the Centre had set in 2014.
"Today, rural India and its villages have declared themselves ODF. This the power and source of success of the ongoing 'Swachhta Abhiyan' (cleanliness drive) being run based on self-motivation and with public participation," he said in his address at the Sabarmati river front.
Making the announcement, Modi said that this motivational place of Sabarmati has become the witness of this success.
The Modi government had launched the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin (SBM-G) from October 2, 2014 with an aim to achieve ODF India by October 2, 2019.
Modi congratulated every countryman, especially those living in villages, Sarpanches and all those who have worked for 'Swachata' and said that irrespective of age, social and economic status, everyone has contributed in this pledge of cleanliness, dignity and respect.
The Prime Minister said that the world was amazed by this success and they were rewarding us. "Entire world is amazed that India has provided toilet facilities to more than 60 crore population in 60 months by constructing more than 11 crore toilets."
Public participation and voluntarism has been the hallmark of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and the reason for its success, Modi said.
Stressing on the importance of public participation, the Prime Minister said that collective efforts are essential for the success of important government initiatives like Jal Jeevan Mission and eliminating "single use plastic" by 2022.
Modi said that his government is committed towards realizing the dreams of Mahatma Gandhi.
In this context, the Prime Minister mentioned about the initiatives of the government to ensure self-reliance, provide Ease of Living, and taking development to the last mile.
He urged the public to take a resolution for the betterment of the nation and strive hard to make it successful and added that such 130 crore resolutions can bring about a massive transformation.
The Prime Minister also inaugurated the Swachh Bharat Diwas 2019 in Ahmedabad earlier and released postage stamp and silver coin to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
He also distributed the Swachh Bharat Puraskar to the winners. Earlier in the day, he paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Sabarmati Ashram. He visited the Magan Niwas (Charkha Gallery) and interacted with the children there.
While addressing a gathering of Sarpanches at the 'Swachh Bharat Diwas' programme, he said that the entire world is commemorating 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and the event has been made more memorable after UN released a postal stamp on Gandhiji a few days back.
He said that he had the opportunity to visit Sabarmati Ashram many times in his lifetime and today like every other time got new energy there as well.