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Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA) launched the toolkit for the sixth edition of Swachh Survekshan – a cleanliness competition for urban India. The survey is aimed at evaluating the sanitation and hygiene systems of the cities.

As a prelude to encouraging cities to improve urban sanitation, MoHUA had conducted Swachh Survekshan 2016 survey for the rating of 73 cities in January 2016, followed by Swachh Survekshan 2017 conducted in January-February 2017 ranking 434 cities. Swachh Survekshan 2018, which became the world’s largest cleanliness survey, ranked 4203 cities followed by Swachh Survekshan 2019 which not only covered 4237 cities but was also the first of its kind completely digital survey completed in a record time of 28 days.

Swachh Survekshan 2020 continued the momentum and saw participation of 1.87 crore citizens.  Going a step forward,  Ministry has also introduced Swachh Survekshan League last year, a quarterly cleanliness assessment of cities and towns to be done in three quarters and 25% weightage integrated into the final Swachh Survekshan results.

“Every year, the Swachh Survekshan is redesigned innovatively, to ensure that the process becomes more robust, with focus on sustaining the behavior change. Like in the last year, keeping in mind the Ministry’s efforts towards ensuring sustainability of the sanitation value chain, the SS 2021 indicators focus on parameters pertaining to wastewater treatment and reuse along with faecal sludge”, said Hardeep Singh Puri in the launch event. He further added that Swachh Survekhan has become a tool for citizen engagement in the spirit of a true ‘Jan Andolan’.

What’s new this time? 

Under the present framework, the evaluation of cities was based on their population size. However, as per the new criteria this year, cities will be evaluated on the basis of these six indicators:

  • Segregation of waste into Wet, Dry and Hazard categories
  • Processing capacity against wet waste generated
  • Processing and recycling of wet and dry waste
  • Construction & Demolition (C&D) waste processing
  • Percentage of waste going to landfills
  • Sanitation status of cities

Also this year, there will be a new category of awards: ‘Prerak Dauur Samman’. The Prerak Dauur Samman has a total of five additional sub- categories -Divya (Platinum), Anupam (Gold), Ujjwal (Silver), Udit (Bronze), Aarohi (Aspiring) – with top three cities being recognized in each.

Other initiatives 

A key highlight of the event was also the launch of the integrated SBM-Urban MIS portal. The virtual event also saw the signing of the Engagement and Coordination Arrangement (ECA) between MoHUA and the USAID which is a continuation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on co-operation in the field of WASH that was signed between GOI and USAID in 2015.

These launches were followed by a webinar on ‘Segregation at Source: Key to Solid Waste Management’ which was attended by over 1,000 State and Urban Local Body (ULB) officials and other stakeholders. The workshop saw presentations from lighthouse cities such as Navi Mumbai, Surat, Khargone and Karad who showcased their source segregation models along with the release of a report ‘Segregate, Segregate, Segregate’ by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). A workshop on ‘Source Segregation: The Key to Solid Waste Management’ was also organized on the sidelines and was attended by over 1000 State and Urban Local Body (ULB) officials and other stakeholders. Similarly, the crucial issues of legacy waste management and remediation of landfills have also been brought to the fore in this edition of Survekshan”.

Performance of Swachh Bharat Mission – Urban so far!

As per the government data, since the launch of SBM-U in 2014,  4324 Urban ULBs have been declared ODF (4204 certified ODF), 1306 cities certified ODF+ and 489 cities certified ODF++. 66 lakhs individual household toilets and over 6 lakhs community/ public toilets have been constructed/ or are under construction. Additionally, over 59,900 toilets across 2900+ cities have been made live on Google Maps, claims the government data.

The government data also highlights that in the area of solid waste management, 96% of wards have 100% door-to door collection while 66% of the total waste generated is being processed. A total of six cities have been certified as 5 Star, 86 as 3 star and 64 as 1 star under the Star Rating Protocol for Garbage Free Cities.

However, several experts, think tanks and grassroot organizations have raised doubts over the success and impact of the mission. In reality, segregation remains a major challenge with door-to-door pickup absent in many cities of India. The issue of manual scavenging has also had a negative impact on the success of the mission. Not to forget, the Swachh Bharat Mission (like its other policy experiences – Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana) has also struggled to address the social and behavioral practices regarding toilet use and open defecation.

(By: Editorial Team)

The news has been published directly from the original press release with minimal edits from here.

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