Central government offices close early for 'Swachh 'Bharat' clean-up

All central government offices in New Delhi, including South Block, North Block and Shastri Bhawan among others, were closed at 2 pm today for a thorough clean-up in keeping with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's nation-wide 'Swachh Bharat' (Clean India) campaign that kicks off on Thursday.

It is the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, who was a strong advocate of cleanliness and hygiene. It is a national holiday, but traditional schools around the country still treat it as a 'clean-up day'.

 ''I will remain committed towards cleanliness and devote time for this ... I will neither litter nor let others litter,'' is a salient point of the pledge that Modi will administer to Indians on Thursday, virtually echoing the views of the Mahatma – who, like Modi, was a Gujarati.

The Prime Minister will administer the pledge at a public function in Delhi. The government has appealed to all its employees and the public to take the pledge.

Apart from the major centres of government, offices situated in Rail Bhawan, Shram Shakti Bhawan, Udyog Bhawan, Nirman Bhawan and Vigyan Bhawan will also be closed early, said an order issued on Tuesday by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).

The offices in CSIR building, Reserve Bank of India, Yojna Bhawan, National Archives, Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, National Media Centre, Jawahar Bhawan, Vayu Bhawan, Sena Bhawan, National Museum, Vigyan Bhawan Annexe, CCA, Ministry of Agriculture, 16-A Akbar Road, DRDO Bhawan, Raksha Bhawan, National Stadium, Hyderabad House and Coast Guard HQ will also be closed early on Tuesday.

''Government offices located in Rashtrapati Bhavan and Parliament House would remain closed from 10 pm on October 1, 2014 till 10.30 am on October 2, 2014,'' the DoPT order said.

The 'swachta (cleanliness)' pledge is being administered amid Modi's intent to create a national movement over the next five years to realise the objective of 'clean India' by 2 October  2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.