By Apoorva Mandhani
Swachh Survekshan-2017, commissioned by the Ministry of Urban Development during January – February, 2017, was conducted as a part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission), which is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project. The campaign was launched in 2014, with the objective of making India cleaner and open-defecation free by 2019, which also marks the 150th birth anniversary of the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi.
It was executed by the Quality Council of India, and was conducted in 434 cities chosen under the Atal Mission for Regeneration and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) Scheme. The Council had deployed 421 assessors for on the spot assessment of 17,500 locations, with 55 people regularly monitoring the survey process. Out of the total of 2,000 marks, 45 per cent was carried by the aspect of solid waste management, which included door-to-door collection, processing, and disposal, ODF (open defecation free) status etc. Citizen feedback amounted to 30 per cent, and independent observation amounted to 25 per cent of the total marks.
Sabka saath, sabka vikas
The 2017 survey saw an expression of the incumbent Modi Government’s mantra of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ (collective efforts, inclusive growth). While in 2016, the weightage given to the citizens’ feedback section was only 25 per cent of the evaluation criterion, this year it was increased to 30 per cent. The project facilitated the receipt and evaluation of more than 18 lakhs valid responses, and endowed an enhanced emphasis on capacity building and e-learning portals as evaluation parameters. It, thereby, focused on empowering and guiding people to actively become a part of the movement, demonstrating the Government’s will to discern the perspective of the beneficiaries of the campaign.
The cleanliness quotient of the country
The survey has revealed that sanitation in cities and towns of the country has substantially improved during the last one year, with 82 per cent reported improvement in sanitation infrastructure and services. While 80 per cent of the respondents proclaimed much better access to community and public toilets, 75 per cent found them substantially clean. Human resource management has also been appreciated and rightly so, with the sanitation staff vacancy having reduced to less than 10% in 227 cities and towns.
Besides, as per the rankings, Indore bagged the top stop, with Bhopal ranking at a close second. Gujarat has the highest number of clean cities (12) in the top 50, followed by Madhya Pradesh (11) and Andhra Pradesh (eight). Minister of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, Mr. M. Venkaiah Naidu, therefore, termed Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh as the “movers and shakers”, as the cities in these States have significantly improved their rankings since the first survey. The State with the highest population in India, Uttar Pradesh, however, turned out to be the most unclean, with 50 of its 62 surveyed cities having ranked below 300. Gonda of Uttar Pradesh stood last, followed by Bhusawal of Maharashtra. West Bengal was the only State that had opted out of being surveyed.
Indore’s perfect report card
Indore’s leap from rank 25 last year to the top has not been an easy one. According to a report, Indore’s win can be attributed to at least five factors. First, Indore Municipal Corporation’s move to dismiss 500 staff members for non-performance signaled the remaining workers to undertake tasks more efficiently. Second, a record 4000 toilets were constructed within four months to make the city open-defecation free. Third, speakers were installed on garbage collection vehicles of the civic body to spread awareness about the cleanliness crusade. Fourth, the civic body began cleaning the roads at night, picking up around 400 dumper of dust within three months. Fifth, around 400 vehicles were engaged for door-to-door garbage collection.
Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan has, however, opined that Indore’s “transformation” is a result of a mega movement, fuelled by “wholehearted participation” of the people. Indore’s success can, therefore, be viewed as a model to be replicated in other cities of the country, with the city having incorporated within its initiatives the crux of PM Modi’s cleanliness initiatives.
Featured Image Source: Indore Pac