Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Stage set to rank 75 top cities under ‘Swachh Bharat’


New Delhi, Feb 14 (IANS) The stage is set to recognise cities that have taken “Swachh Bharat” campaign seriously, with a Top 75 ranking based on feedback from 20 million citizens, among others parameters, says the chair of the institution that has conducted the exercise.

Which is the cleanest Indian city? Who are the leaders? Who are the slow movers? Answers to these questions — “Swachh Survekshan” — would be unveiled on Monday by Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu, based on an exercise conducted by the Quality Council of India.

“It has been 16 months now since the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was launched. It is now time to take stock. Swachh Survekshan will help us assess the level of cleanliness and awareness in 75 cities,” council chairman Adil Zainulbhai told IANS.

But isn’t it too early to assess a project like this, particularly given the state of cleanliness in India? “On the contrary, we want to make the campaign even more successful. We want to foster a spirit of healthy competition between cities,” he said.

“In fact, we have already started moving towards our next task — even more challenging. It is to make Swachh Survekshan a quarterly affair and go on to rank as many as 4,000 cities an towns in the country,” added Zainulbhai, former India chief for McKinsey.

The Swachh Bharat campaign was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 2, 2014 — Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday — calling upon the citizens to realise the dream of a clean India by the 150th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation in 2019.

The council chairman said Swachh Survekshan involved citizen feedback, a self-evaluation by municipalities and an independent assessment by experts. All these were based on a uniform cleanliness index so as to make it totally non-discretionary and scientific.

The exercise also involved six measurable aspects of sanitation and hygiene:

– How cities proposed to stop open defecation and integrate solid waste management systems

– Communication strategies on information, education and behaviour change

– Systems adopted for for sweeping, door-to-door collection and transportation of waste

– Efficiency in processing and disposal of waste

– Deployment of public and community toilets

– Progress in construction of individual household toilets.

Zainulbhai said 110 assessors, most of them engineers, visited over 50 locations in each city to make an assessment across several parameters. The locations included bus stands, railway stations, planned and unplanned colonies, community toilets, religious places and market areas.

A base-year pre-survey was also conducted in 476 cities before the launch of this exercise. The results were then tallied with the latest findings in each of the 75 designated cities for their ranking, he said, adding the results will also be shared on the MyGov website.

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