As part of its continued campaign to bring about remarkable improvement in hygienic behavior among millions, the Indian government has taken an unusual step by playing on the popular belief that dirty surroundings annoys Lakshmi — the goddess of wealth. The government hopes that citizens' fear of the annoying Goddess Laksmi will act as a powerful persuader in the advertisement that is part of the massive 'Clean India' campaign launched by the Modi government.
The advertisement features Hindi Cinema's current leading lady, Kangna Ranaut, who won two national awards for acting in a row, as Goddess Lakshmi. The advertisement became an instant hit and is currently trending on social media with the tag #DontLetHerGo.
"It is said that Goddess of wealth Laksmi stays in cleanliness. Still we throw garbage all around. Next time think before throwing garbage, Laksmi may abandon you," says Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan in the video.
The success of this advertisement is evident from the social media behavior where many are posting pictures of people littering their surroundings.
#DontLetHerGo how thoughtful! Stay with each one of us — lets keep the country clean make the country clean!— Vishakha Rajput (@vishakha_Rajput) August 11, 2016
Ramesh Jigajinagi, Minister of State in Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation says, "Sanitation is a behavioral issue. It involves a change of mindset among people to stop open defecation and to adopt safe sanitation practices. This requires the engagement of community and skill in facilitation and ‘triggering'."
India has earmarked $1.352 billion for the cleanliness campaign during the current financial year. It is said that there will be a remarkable increase in allocation in coming the years to reach the campaign's target by October 2, 2019.
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched this mission on October 2, 2014 to attract more foreign tourists and improve health of millions Indian. The government has set target to build 120 million toilets by 2019 which seems daunting task following current rate of progress. India has 638 thousand villages out of which only 11 percent have been declared as open defecation free so far.