New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ordered his bureaucrats to come in to work to clean up their offices, including toilets, on October 2, Gandhi Jayanti.
The move is part of the Swaccha Bharat Mission, a nationwide cleanliness drive to be launched on Thursday.
The Prime Minister himself is expected to life the broom.
However, this initiative has sparked grumbling among officials who say that the request to work, although theoretically voluntary, cannot be ignored.
Since assuming power in May, Modi has been paying unannounced visits to government offices, demanding that employees turn up to work on time.
"We have already been turning up on time and working till late (since Modi took office). Now we have been asked to wield the broom and we might as well do so," said one reluctant official in New Delhi on Tuesday.
"My children are upset that I will have to go to the office even on a national holiday," he said, requesting anonymity.
But another official was decidedly upbeat, saying it was an important step in ridding India of its class system in which only those from low castes cleaned up waste.
"It is an unprecedented sanitation movement," the officer in the power ministry said.
"Wielding the broom is a powerful symbol. It shows that no work is mean and that each one of us should be responsible for cleaning up our waste," he added.
Advertisements in all major dailies on Tuesday urged residents of Delhi to "come forward in large numbers" for the programme's launch.
It is a well-known fact that Gandhi used to clean latrines himself at a time when there were no flush toilets in the country.
Modi has stressed the importance of sanitation in almost all his public speeches since his May victory, vowing to make India clean by 2019, to coincide with the 150th birth anniversary of Gandhi.
Roughly half of India's population do not have toilets in their homes and must defecate in the open, a health and safety problem that Modi has also vowed to fix....