special campaign 2.0: Government’s Swachhata Campaign 2.0 yields Rs 254.21 crore in scrap, e-waste sale

A massive and ambitious one-month long cleanliness drive “Special Campaign 2.0” launched by the Centre to clear scrap, electronic waste, obsolete files and documents has yielded impressive result in three weeks with the government earning Rs 254.21 Crore through its sale, removing 40 lakh files and clearing up 37.19 Lakh square feet of space.

Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions Jitendra Singh stated in a press interaction that the on-going drive is spread over not just the national capital but also remote offices in various states, foreign missions, postal department, railways, defence, pharmaceuticals, agriculture and even Raj Bhawans. He underlined that the campaign includes disposal of electronic scrap and scavenging of archaic online files as well.

“We realized during this campaign that the electronic scrap and other material was saleable and a source of revenue for the government. I am glad that this is a new source of income to the exchequer,” Singh said.

The Swachhata Campaign was conducted at 68,363 sites across the country in which 40.52 Lakh files were reviewed and 37.19 Lakh square feet of space was cleared. The Special Campaign 2.0 began on Gandhi Jayanti. October 2.

The drive has not only generated Rs 254.21 Crore but also led to redressal of 3,05,268 public grievances, reply to 5416 MP’s references and removal of 588 obsolete rules. The postal department- infamous for waste accumulation in its offices- conducted the cleanliness campaign in 17,767 post offices while the Railways carried it out in 7028 railway stations.

Similarly, department of pharmaceuticals held the campaign in 5974 sites, defence in 4578 locations and ministry of home affairs in 4896 sites.

Singh had discovered during his rounds that even in high places like South Block corridors were closed as files and broken furniture were stored there.

Cleaning up of soft copies of irrelevant files has also been initiated in a big way.

The freed up space and the waste have also been put to innovative use in some places. The Bengaluru railway station staff created a sculpture from the discarded plastic bottles while rail coach restaurant has been started at Guntur railway station. The Women and Child Development Ministry is conducting training sessions for making useful products from the waste, and a Parcel Café opened in Kolkata GPO by the postal department in space cleared of waste.

Singh said the Central Board of Indirect Taxes has developed a theme “Aranya” in their freed office corridor on wildlife while garbage to garden initiative has been taken by the coal ministry. Restoration of cleared space, raising a Dorla tribal hut by the culture ministry, putting up Madhubani paintings were some other initiatives by various ministries.

The minister emphasised that the state governments have been kept in the loop in the campaign and some of them have shown a lot of enthusiasm. Among the Raj Bhawans, the Telangana and Pudducherry premises have taken the lead.

Hundreds of archaic rules that were hampering the clearing of waste were removed by the Narendra Modi government over months.

K Srinivas, Secretary DoPT, said in some cases it came to light that files pertaining to complaints by clerks against ICS officers decades back- some even of 1908 vintage- were still kept in offices. The ministry has set deadlines for files and ones found older than the set date and not being relevant will be weeded out.

Singh said the cleared space has also created funds as offices have been set up saving rent upto Rs 2 Cr being paid till some time back for office space.

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