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The campaign was officially launched on 2 October 2014 at Rajghat, New Delhi, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is India's largest ever cleanliness drive with 3 million government employees, and especially school and college students from all parts of India, participating in the campaign. The objectives of Swachh Bharat are to reduce or eliminate open defecation through construction of individual, cluster and community toilets. The Swachh Bharat mission will also make an initiative of establishing an accountable mechanism of monitoring latrine use.

Officially starting as of 1 April 1999, the Government of India restructured the Comprehensive Rural Sanitation Programme and launched the Total Sanitation Campaign which was later renamed Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan was restructured by Cabinet approval on 24 September 2014 as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was launched on 2nd October 2014, and aims to eradicate open defecation by 2019,Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is a national campaign, covering 4,041 statutory cities and towns.