Union Minister for Urban Development Venkaiah Naidu released the Swachh Survekshan 2017, an annual report that rates the cleanliness in municipalities of 500 cities and towns of India.
The 2017 report ranks Indore (M.P) as No.1 cleanest city in India with Bhopal (M.P) at No.2. The ignominy of being ranked the dirtiest went to Gonda (U.P) with the next dirtiest going to Bhusawal (Maharashtra).
Gujarat has the distinction of having 12 of its cities in the Top 50 and is followed by Madhya Pradesh with 11 and Andhra Pradesh with 8. India’s largest state Uttar Pradesh fared poorly overall, with 25 of its cities being ranked among the dirtiest. West Bengal declined to participate in the survey.
421 quality assessors were deployed by the Quality Council of India, who collectively covered 17,500 locations, with an additional 50 being appointed for permanent monitoring.
These are the top 10 cleanest cities in India:
- New Delhi (NDMC area)
- Navi Mumbai
So what’s the big takeaway?
The rankings are a very good indicator of what local governments are doing right but rankings can and will change every year. That’s not the big story here. It’s the fact that 500 cities have participated and become aware of the need to be ranked higher, along with a growing consciousness among people on the need to improve, is the real big take away.
The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is beginning to show effect and proves that when governments seriously take the lead in civic and social development, people are willing to actively participate.
Prior to the Swachh mission being launched in 2014, there was almost no serious drive to build public consciousness on the need to improve civic cleanliness nor were local governments driven to try and achieve more and be recognized for it.
The success of the annual Swachh Survekshan Report can be seen by way of enthusiastic people participation. As per Ministry of Urban Development, 434 towns and cities were covered with over 18 lakh people participating in the survey. Of these, 80% responded favourably on the need to further promote this initiative.
In 2016, only 72 towns and cities were covered. 2017 saw 500 towns and cities willing to participate. India is without doubt on the right path but a lot still needs to be done.
The fact that the Prime Minister’s own constituency of Varanasi has improved its rankings but still lags way behind many other cities, only highlights the need for relentless efforts needed to initiate measures that will make cities and towns cleaner and help improve their rankings. Here’s what more municipalities can do to improve their rankings when the next report is released in 2018
- Take measures to improve awareness among the school and college student communities for the need to keep the areas around their house and institutions clean.
- Involve local communities at various levels to increase people participation in cleanliness drives throughout the year.
- Increase investment in waste management and disposal technology; deploy more garbage collecting staff and vehicles.
- Invest in garbage segregation, compost and bio-gas converting technologies.
- Cover open drains, lay more sewerage lines and build more green spaces.
- Build more public toilets and incentivize staff to ensure high standard of maintenance.
These are only some of the measures out of several that need to be undertaken. It would be a good idea for local municipality heads to visit cities like Indore, Bhopal, Mysuru and Surat to see for themselves how these cities have been successful in remaining among the Top 10 list consistently.
It’s time we all did our bit and let us begin with our homes and the areas around it.