Millions of schoolchildren, officials and ordinary people pick up brooms and dustpans to join a countrywide campaign to clean parks, public buildings and streets.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi swept the road in a poor neighborhood in New Delhi on Thursday while launching the Clean India Campaign.

Modi chose the birth anniversary of independence leader Mohandas K. Gandhi to launch the five-year drive to clean public spaces aimed at changing India's image as one of the filthiest countries in the world.

The campaign was preceded by a media blitz exhorting every citizen to take a pledge to tidy up their homes and offices. Cabinet ministers, police and industry leaders have been clearing files and disposing clutter in their offices all week as part of the campaign.