Launching the ‘Swachh Shakti Saptah’ in Haryana, union minister Narender Singh Tomar March 1, 2017 said “swachhta” (cleanliness) has become a movement which now needs to made a mass movement. “Owing to the priority given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, ‘Swachhta’ has become a movement in the country and now it needs to made a mass movement with significant contribution of women,” said Tomar, the Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation. Haryana Development and Panchayat Minister Om Prakash Dhankar was also present on the occasion here. Women sarpanches, Anganwadi workers, ANMs, ASHA workers and members of women self-help groups of all six districts of Gurugram division participated in the programme. An exhibition was also organised at the venue to educate women participants about benefits of cashless transactions. An Aadhaar Enrolment machine was placed in one of the stalls for women who were still not enrolled, an official spokesman said. Addressing the event, Tomar said participation of women is essential for making the Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) a success because women constitute half of the population of the country and they are the ones who face maximum difficulties because of “gandgi” (dirt). He said in order to make “swachhta” a part of daily life and a habit, the union government has exhorted all states to dedicate the entire week upto International Women’s Day on March 8 to the cause of cleanliness. He hoped by Women’s Day, a large number of women will connect with the movement and convert it into a mass movement. This week will culminate on March 8 at Ahmedabad where Prime Minister Modi will be the chief guest, he said. He hoped with the cooperation of womenfolk, the entire country would be made Open Defecation Free (ODF) by 2019. Tomar said “swachhta” was not on the government agenda till Modi appealed to Indians to make the country clean on August 15, 2014. He said when he was given responsibility of Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) he thought it would be a difficult task to achieve the target but that he was now glad that 102 districts of the country have declared themselves ODF under the scheme covering 1.71 lakh villages, including 14 districts of Haryana. Three states – Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala – have already declared themselves ODF and Tomar hoped by November 1 this year, Haryana would become the fourth state in this list. He said cleanliness was part of our culture but over the years due to single family system and devoid of any government schemes, emphasis on “swachhta” had been lacking.