Union Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Narendra Singh Tomar, and Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Harsh vardhan, along with several Faith leaders took the Swachhta pledge at a function in Leh, Ladakh today. The pledge titled the Sarva Dharma Swachhta Evam Sadbhavana Sankalp was to provide momentum to Swachh Bharat Mission by involving the Faith leaders. The initiative saw participation of over 25 faith leaders from across states and the Ladakh region, and was attended by over 500 stakeholders including local NGOs, faith leaders, activists, media, MLAs, government officials and community workers. On the occasion, the Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation said, Faith leaders represent millions of Indians and their voices. He appreciated the Global Inter-Faith WASH Alliance- GIWA- for taking forward Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision for a Swachh Bharat.
The Minister said, the voice of faith leaders is extremely powerful, reaching and influencing a majority of Indians that can accelerate the achievement of the Swachh Bharat Mission. He also emphasised on the significance of achieving the Sustainable Development Goal for universal sanitation for India. A number of faith leaders highlighted the issues of global warming, for instance melting of glaciers which is a grave issue impacting availability of drinking water thereby affecting the human population. Collectively they decided to promote issues of WASH to their congregations, other leaders and stakeholders at the community levels.
Participating in the event, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Harshvardhan said, "Just as we teach our children about the culture and traditions attached to our religion, we can also inculcate the messages of proper sanitation and cleanliness, which will help change behaviour and mindsets moving forward." Swami Chidanand Saraswati, co-founder GIWA, highlighted the significance of children as change agents to promote the larger social movement on sanitation in the country. Officials of UNICEF also joined the event.