NEW DELHI: The government has decided to outsource the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan publicity campaign to a professional agency for the next four years and has earmarked nearly Rs 200 crore for this.
According to information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry officials, the Centre plans a professional, effective campaign for the project, which was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last October.
“The PM is very concerned about the project and the deadline, 2019. It has been noted that though there is a lot of interest in the project, it is yet to pick up momentum, especially in the rural areas. We need effective ad reminders every day so that there is a behavioural change in people”, a senior ministry official said.
In recent meetings with officials of the ministries of home, drinking water and sanitation and I&B, Modi has asserted the need for campaigns of the quality of the Incredible India tourism promotions to take Swachh Bharat forward. Twelve advertising agencies are in discussions with the PMO and it is understood that one of them will be chosen soon. “The new ads will not be like any other sarkari ad.
The PMO wants to assess the impact of every ad, how much it has registered with people and what the result is on the ground. This way we can fix accountability too,” an official said. The Swachh Bharat mission is to be implemented at a total cost of Rs 62,009 crore with a targeted construction of 1.04 crore household toilets and 2.55 lakh public toilets. For 2014-15, Rs 900 crore was sanctioned by the Union Ministry of Urban Development.
According to sources, the government has already spent nearly Rs 100 crore on advertising the project. Initially, Rs 170 crore was allocated to the I&B ministry but this is slated to go up in the next few months. “The PM feels an ad like the high decibel Khushbu Gujarat Ki featuring some celebrity like Amitabh Bachchan is needed to take the sustained ad campaign forward and that can be done only by professional people”, an official said. Piyush Pandey, executive chairman of Ogilvy & Mather, said a professional campaign would be highly productive”
It takes an everyday stimulation to bring about a behavioural change in people, especially with regard to cleanliness and hygiene,” he said. “Swachh Bharat requires an attitude change in the people and that will take time”.The I&B ministry had launched six commercials in October, including an ad film, two partly animated videos and three radio anthems.
“The hoardings and ads were basically to do with littering. In these ads, those who litter are jeered. It was aggressive to start the project but now we need a different, creative approach” an official said, adding that ad agencies have been asked to study specific areas, understand sanitation needs and release customised ads to make the most impact.
“The ads will not only have celebrities featuring in them but will also be targeted at open defecation, pure drinking water, hygienic street food, clean public places and promoting the use of toilets and maintaining them,” he said.
(Report first appeared with Economic Times)