[Gist of Yojana November] Swachh rail, swachh Bharat

Mains Paper 2: Governance

Prelims level: Indian Railway

Mains level: Cleanliness in Indian Railway


• Indian railways have more than 8700 stations, running an average of over 13000 trains every day.

• Maintaining and improving cleanliness of these stations and trains is a mammoth task due to heavy footfalls/overcrowding, uncontrolled usage and passenger habits, particularly on trains and at major stations where passengers tend to remain for long hours.

“Swachh rail, Swachh Bharat ’’ initiatives:

• Outsourcing of cleanliness of all major stations,

• improving flooring of platforms to enable mechanised cleaning,

• providing separate dustbins for different types of waste,

• employing CCTVs to monitor cleaning practices,

• installation of bio toilets in passenger coaches,

• development of a ”customer complaint’’ web portal and mobile application to collect continuous citizen feedback,

• Introduction of pay and use toilets at various stations.

• Introduction of on board housing services (OBHS), clean my coach and coach mitra services,clean train services (CTS) for passing trains during their stoppages.

• Employing 24*7 public grievance system through Twitter and provision of medical, security and other emergency assistance to passengers.

• Create awareness among passengers and to assess the impact of cleanliness by a third party survey on cleanliness indicators at 407 major stations.

Cleanliness drive: Modalities

• General conditions of contracts (GCC) for service contracts have been introduced in Indian railways to guide the zonal railways to tackle various situations governing the execution of service contracts.

• The new standard bid document issued for housekeeping of stations, coaching depots and trains has a minimum of 70% scoring criteria in the technical evaluation stage will qualify for opening of financial bids.

• Provision of biometric attendance , payment linked to users feedback and price variation clause to ensure payment of minimum wages.

Effective customer engagement

• Theme based drives; charitable institutions/social organisations have been associated in undertaking awareness campaigns along with the use of social media, electronic media, and public announcements.

• Indian railways have already introduced social media platform for customer
engagement through twitter handles of the ministry of railways@ Rail Min India, Facebook page ”ministry of railways – India, As well twitter handles of divisional railway managers and general managers of indian railways for effective customer engagement.

• In the ”clean my coach’’ wherein one can SMS his PNR no.to 58888 to get their complaint registered for cleanliness at his seat and helpline no.138.

• Online complaint management system (COMS) is also functional where users can register their complaints.

Bio friendly technology

• Railways actively supported and participated in the drive launched by government of India against open defecation on Sept, 25, 2016.

• Bio toilet technology has been developed jointly by Indian railways (IR) and defence research and development organization (DRDO).

• This environment friendly, low cost and robust technology is the first of its kind in the railways system in the world.

• The efficacy of the bacteria used in the system has been tested by DRDO
conditions like those at Siachen Glacier.

• The biggest advantage of the technology is that the colony of anaerobic bacteria converts human waste mainly into water and biogases (mainly methane CH4 and carbon dioxide CO2).

• The gases escape into the atmosphere and the waste water is discharged after disinfection on to the track. Raw human waste does not fall on the railway tracks and this keeps the stations premises /tracks clean.

• To educate the passengers on ‘how to use bio toilets -dos and don’ts are regularly conducted by zonal railways by providing stickers in coach toilets , playing audio/video clippings and model display etc.

• The first train, Gwalior -Varanasi Bundelkhand express, fitted with IR-DRDO bio toilets was introduced in service in January 2011.

• With an aim to provide clean and efficient toilets and to reduce the water consumption in toilets, IR is doing a trial of bio vacuum toilets.

• This has aircraft type vacuum toilet on the passenger interface and bio digester tank is fitted beneath the toilet area on the coach.

Solid waste management

• Towards conversion of water to energy, pilot plants are being set up at Jaipur and New Delhi which will convert bio degradable waste to energy through bio methanation process, energy generated from these plants would be utilised for suitable services at or near the stations.

• For the first time in 2016, railways stations (407 stations of AI and A category) were audited for cleanliness by an independent third party agency.

Way forward

• Reduction of plastic waste through bottle crushing machines.

• Personal hygiene at railway stations through bottle crushing machines

• Outsourcing of cleanliness at major railway stations

• Awareness initiatives carry out in schools, NGOs and communities.

• Railways are conscious of its duties and responsibilities towards providing a reasonably safe, clean and healthy mode of transportation to its passengers. The task also requires active cooperation of the individuals.

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