Swachh Survekshan 2019 throws up contradictions

Indore, Ambikapur and Mysuru win the top spots in Surveskhan 2019

By Richa Agarwal, Rashmi Shrivastav
Published: Wednesday 06 March 2019

In the fourth edition of Swachh Survekshan, under the Swachh Bharat Mission, most urban local bodies (ULBs) of the country, excluding those in West Bengal, participated to be ranked on the basis of various parameters of cleanliness.

The 2019 survey tried to acknowledge that its methodology needed to capture practices and successes that were outcome-based and sustainable. The prime objective all editions, though, has been to encourage large-scale participation by citizens. Also, a goal was to make all sections of the society aware about the importance of working together to make towns and cities a better place.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) conducted the first survey of 73 cities in 2016; Swachh Survekshan-2017 ranked 434 cities and the third round,in 2018, covered 4,203 statutory towns. Swachh Survekshan 2019, across 4,237 cities, covered 40 crore people.

President Ram Nath Kovind on March 6, 2019 presented awards to various ULBs for their achievements. 

Category – Cleanest Cities

Overall India Ranking

Indore(Madhya Pradesh)

10 lakh Above Population

Amdavad (Gujarat)

3 – 10 lakh Population

Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh)

1 – 3 lakh Population

NewDelhi Municipal Council

Capital Cities

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh)

Below 1 lakh Population - North

Nawanshahr Municipal Council (Punjab)

Below1 lakh Population -East

Narharpur Nagar Panchayat (Chhattisgarh)

Below 1 lakh Population – North East

Thoubal Municipal Town (Manipur)

Below 1 lakh Population -West

Karad Municipal Council (Maharashtra)

Below 1 lakh Population -South

Periyapatna Town Panchayat (Karnataka)

Category – Best Solid Waste Management Practices

10 lakh Above Population

Surat (Gujarat)

3 – 10 lakh Population

Latur (Maharashtra)

1 – 3 lakh Population

Nagda (Madhya Pradesh)

Capital Cities

Chandigarh (Haryana/Punjab)

>50,000 to 1 lakh Population - North

Rupnagar Municipal Council (Punjab)

>50,000 to 1 lakh Population - East

Phusro Nagar Parishad (Jharkhand)

>50,000 to 1 lakh Population–North East

Bongaigaon Municipality (Assam)

>50,000 to 1 lakh Population - West

Khopoli Municipal Council (Maharashtra)

>50,000 to 1 lakh Population - South

Hunsur Town Municipal Council (Karnataka)

Category – Best Innovation & Best Practices

10 lakh Above Population

Jabalpur(Madhya Pradesh)

3 – 10 lakh Population

Jhansi (Uttar Pradesh)

1 – 3 lakh Population

Dewas(Madhya Pradesh)

Capital Cities

Greater Mumbai(Maharashtra)

>50,000 to 1 lakh Population - North

Gulaothi Municipal Council (Uttar Pradesh)

>50,000 to1 lakh Population - East

Gumla Nagar Panchayat (Jharkhand)

>50,000 to 1 lakh Population – North East

Lunglei Notified Town (Mizoram)

>50,000 to 1 lakh Population - West

Ambajogi Municipal Council (Maharashtra)

>50,000 to 1 lakh Population - South

Kavali Municipality (Andhra Pradesh)

Methodology this year

The total possible marks were set at 5000 for the new edition; four categories with weightage of 25 per cent each include citizen feedback, progress level data,direct observation and a new category on certifications such as Star Rating of Garbage Free City, ODF+ and ODF++.

Citizen Feedback: The Swachh app, which was only being used during the survekshan time by citizens until 2018, was revised to be used for round-the-year citizen engagement. A question on source segregation of waste was added to the citizen feedback questionnaire.

Progress Level Data: The data for the new edition had to be filled online on the MIS systems by ULBs directly. The cities were given training on how to file the progress level data. The questionnaire this year included substantial questions on sustainable waste management practice and more questions on regulation were added, checking whether cities had passed bylaws based on Solid and Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016.

Direct Observation: Sample sizing was done based on the population with scope of error margin and also included components of slabs for negative marking in case of non-compliance on the ground to determine the final score for a ULB.

Certifications: Certification for Star Rating of Garbage-Free City had to be applied for by ULB. In cases where by declaration the star rating was 3 and above, a third agency was sent for assessment and verification on the ground.

Objectives achieved?

The Survekshan has definitely received much fervour from participating cities. Also, to some degree, it has been successful in capturing the changing landscape of cleanliness in India. But the challenges on the ground are many and they remain.

The fact that, according to the 2019 report, only three ULBs across India were eligible for a 5-star rating under the Star Rating of Garbage-Free while only 53 ULBs were certified to be 3-stars and 1,239 ULBs were self-declared as 1 or 2 stars is underwhelming. It is a testimony to the poor state of governance and implementation of sustainable waste management practice on-ground.

This also means the rest of 2,942 cities did not get a star-rating. Yet, according to the survey, 61 per cent of all wards in the country have achieved 100% source-segregation target!

It also ‘claim’ that 51 per cent of the waste generated in the country is processed, which is improbable. The survey also takes into count the plants that have been tendered but their construction is yet to begin. There are also countless plants in the country that lie dysfunctional.

There is no doubt that the survey has bought in a good sense of competition among cities to become cleaner and adopt effective methods, there are also numerous best practices that can be adopted and cities can learn from each other.

However, there are only a few cities that have cracked the code for sustainable waste management and have been able to keep up the good work over the years. Also, a lot of initiatives of cities in states such as Kerala, Maharashtra, Goa and Bihar have not been acknowledged.

But again, the year’s survey has tried to capture the innovation undertaken by ULBs in terms of using newer technologies and systems for better implementation of the projects on ground. Indore, Ambikapur and Mysuru have undoubtedly done commendable work, but these are the names that have made to the top in every Survekshan; it also means that there is a huge scope for other cities to perform better on the ground.

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