SWACHH BHARAT ABHIYAN| Elevating brand India

SWACHH BHARAT ABHIYAN| Elevating brand India

Swatch Bharat “To each according to his needs.” When Karl Marx said it, he hadn’t realized that we would know that, ours is essentially a tragic age

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Swatch Bharat

“To each according to his needs.”

When Karl Marx said it, he hadn’t realized that we would know that, ours is essentially a tragic age and thus we refuse to take it tragically. It is our bounded rationality, which has made us so complacent about the things around us. As we chop the world down to fit our needs, instead of chopping down ourselves to fit the world, the earth we grow, live and strive upon gets marred with our filth. In fact, I think we all have a Vera Wang inside us and we feel connected to her when everyone says “You don’t alter Vera Wang to fit you. You alter yourself to fir a Vera Wang”

As students of economics, we are well versed with the idea of limited resources and unlimited desires. We essentially act selfishly. The concept of the ‘tragedy of commons’ reinforced. From the marshmallow experiment, which is synonymous with temptation, willpower and grit, we learnt that instant gratification showed lower competence level as against to the delayers. In layman’s term, both ‘tragedy of commons’ and ‘marshmallow experiment’ both reinstate the need that we need to be patient with our desires and must have a long term understanding of the repercussions of our actions, not only for our loved ones but also for our selves.

When we focus our attention to India, we hear very antithetical statements. A PTI report quoted Jaitley as saying the path to 10% growth rate in India is not impossible. But what is the point of a high GDP growth rate if 13 out of the world’s top 20 polluted cities are in India. Ganga and Yamuna, the holiest rivers in the country are also ranked among the world’s 10 polluted rivers. Visitors from all over the world, on one hand, eulogize India’s rich heritage, culture traditions, hospitality et al. On the other, they fear the dirt on our streets and also in our minds. The cow in the middle of the road fascinates them, but they freak out of the trash around it.

The ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign aims to eradicate open defecation & manual scavenging; generate public awareness; bring about a behavioural change in people and to provide required environment for the private sector to participate in making capital contribution for the maintenance costs of the Clean India campaign.

The country where “Atithi devo Bhava” is recited as a shloka, has always been known for the hospitality it provides. But, the asepsis is of great concern to all travellers including me. It is what the customer expects. And it is an obvious observation that customer demands and expectations are ever increasing with the presence of so many options. Be it a luxury traveller or a budget traveller, hygiene is the pre-requisite. Cleanliness is a hygiene factor, absence of which really disappoints all guests invariably. As I look for a hotel on ibibo.com for a trip, the first thing I look in the pictures is the cleanliness inside as well as outside the hotel. Have your heard the famous idiom “ Daal me kuch kala hain”? Even though it means being suspicious, the origin of the idiom is established on the need of we humans to be neat and clean.

Dorby & Karnin (1973); Nirldon (1974) classified goods and services into ‘search properties’, ‘experience properties’ & ‘credence properties’. Search properties are those properties, which can be determined prior to purchase. While experience properties can be gauged when us indulge in the product or service. Lastly, the credence properties cannot be evaluated without the knowledge or skill to do so and need to rely on professional expertise. Hygiene is actually an experience property in the hospitality sector; more so because pictures can be deceptive and cleanliness can be quite relative. The gap between the customer expectation and customer satisfaction may vary significantly. On the other hand, the Clean India campaign has the ability to position it as a search property, which in turn will help reduce the variance between the perceived value & what they get.

From several researches we have found that cleanliness/tidiness is one of the important factor in measuring service quality. Interestingly, from a cross-cultural study it was found that asians have higher expectations for overall cleanliness dimension than the westerners. Still Cleanliness & sanitation ranked very high in their list of factors which effect restaurant/hotel evaluation. And by cleanliness they do not mean only the visual presentation but it also includes cleanliness of the mind. Every now and then, we here about people irrespective of their background, colour or skin getting harassed. Thus there is a great need to broaden our horizons and accept & provide everyone the Indian hospitality – which has always enjoyed an elevated status since time immemorial.

As more and more players of the Indian hospitality sector, join hands with the Modi Government to cleanse India, positioning India as a idyllic destination, will further increase the repute of ‘Brand’ India. Incredible India indeed! But, there is a long way to go. The movement needs to percolate and trickle down to the smaller cities and towns where the real India lives and need to be visited and seen to understand the real India. Stereotypes need to be broken and all this can be done by making sure we achieve our goal of cleaning India, individually as well as collectively.

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