Seeking to provide legal backing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, the government is drafting a law under which municipalities can punish those found spitting, urinating and throwing garbage in public places.
The legislative department of the law ministry is finalising a ‘model’ law which can be adopted by states in line with their local requirements.
The decision to draft a bill was taken after the Legal Affairs Department of the Law Ministry said a central law on the subject would be difficult to implement.
“The Constitution has put sanitation and related issues in the state list. Therefore, there cannot be a central law. But cleanliness goes beyond a state’s boundary. Thus, government plans a model law which can be adopted by states and modified as per their requirements,’ said a senior official.
Government is of the view that self-regulation is not sufficient and a law to enforce the cleanliness drive will help the purpose.
Issues like punishment, fines and enforcement of the law are being worked out along the lines of traffic challans so that violators can be booked on the spot.
To avoid overlapping, the new law will be interwoven with existing rules in related sectors to check unhygienic practices.
The official pointed out that swine flu outbreak in a particular area affects the entire country, therefore, cleanliness cannot be termed as a local issue.
At a review meeting recently, the PMO had expressed desire that laws governing cleanliness be examined so a comprehensive Act can be brought.
In the past, various Central ministries have framed model bills for states to follow. These included a bill on flood zone planning.
The Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Act, 2014 was notified in March last year. It provides for protection of livelihoods right, social security of street vendors and regulation of urban street vending in the country.
To implement the law at the grassroots level, setting up town vending committees in each local authority was proposed. Though street vending is a local issue, Parliament had enacted the law in the interest of street vendors and people at large, the official pointed out.
Prime Minister Modi had picked a broom and swept the streets of the capital on October 2, launching a nationwide campaign to raise awareness about cleanliness and better sanitation.
The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was launched on Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary to inform people about the link between sanitation and public health.