Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, also known as the Clean India Mission, was launched by the Indian government in 2014 with the ambitious goal of achieving a clean and open defecation-free India by 2019.

The success of this nationwide campaign relied not only on infrastructure development but also on the effective use of social influence and persuasion techniques to change behavior and foster a culture of cleanliness.


Social Norms:

  • Social norms are powerful determinants of behaviour. The campaign aimed to shift societal norms towards cleanliness.
  • Example: The “Clean India” message was spread through media campaigns, emphasizing that keeping one’s surroundings clean is not just a duty but a societal norm that everyone should adhere to.

Social Identity:

  • People are more likely to adopt behaviours that align with their social identity and group affiliations.
  • Example: Swachh Bharat Abhiyan promoted the idea that participation made individuals part of a larger, proud community working towards a cleaner India. This sense of identity motivated people to actively contribute.

Social Proof:

  • Demonstrating the behaviour of others can influence individuals to follow suit.
  • Example: Highlighting the success stories of villages or communities that had achieved open defecation-free status encouraged neighbouring areas to strive for the same results.


  • People tend to follow those they perceive as authorities on a subject.
  • Example: Celebrities and political figures actively participating in cleanliness drives not only set an example but also lent credibility and authority to the campaign.


  • The principle of reciprocity can be harnessed to encourage participation.
  • Example: Acknowledging and rewarding individuals or communities for their cleanliness efforts, such as providing public recognition or incentives, encouraged others to engage in similar actions.

Social influence and persuasion strategies played a pivotal role in the success of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan by reshaping social norms, creating a sense of identity and belonging, leveraging social proof, establishing authority figures, and invoking the principle of reciprocity.
These techniques not only contributed to the campaign’s objectives but also laid the foundation for a cleaner and more hygienic India, showcasing the power of persuasive strategies in shaping societal behaviour.

Legacy Editor Changed status to publish May 16, 2024