Mains Paper 2: National
Prelims level: Swachh Survekshan
Mains level: Need for Swachh Survekshan
• Designed as a competitive monitoring framework/tool, Swachh Survekshan is one of the most effective tools for accelerating governance, helping India not just achieve the goal of sustainable sanitation and waste management, but also transform the way the Government of India works to achieve other key development goals.
• Through its multi-pronged data collection approach and robust assessment methodology, Swachh Survekshan has enthused cities with a healthy spirit of competition to improve the status of urban sanitation and to ensure best service delivery to their citizens.
Evolution and Scale of Swachh Survekshan:
• The journey that started in 2016 with only 73 cities with million plus population has grown manifold today with 4,242 cities in 2020.
• Hence, the Survekshan’s scale of coverage has gone up by nearly 60 times covering the entire urban India.
Approach and Methodology: Key Components
• The design of Swachh Survekshan is based on three key pillars as follows:
1. Service Level Progress – evaluating progress of cities on ODF status, segregated waste collection, processing, disposal of solid waste and sustainable sanitation. Progress claimed is validated through citizens and on-field visits;
2. Citizens’ Voice – comprising assessment of cities based on direct feedback, engagement with citizens and innovations helmed by citizens, and
3. Certifications – assessing progress of cities on their Performance under Ministry’s certification protocols such as Star Rating for Garbage Free Cities and ODF/ ODF+/ODF++/Water+.
Swachh Survekshan: Propelling Cities towards Round the-Clock Action
• Cities update their monthly progress on SBM-U portal against all Survekshan indicators.
• Cities upload documents in support of progress claimed within stringent timeframes.
• An independent agency verifies the data and validates the progress of each city through on call/on-field interaction with citizens and random
assessments of areas in cities with movement of assessors being geo-tagged.
Impact of Swachh Survekshan:
1. Driving India on the Path of Sustainable Sanitation
• Today, urban India has not just become ODF buthas moved beyond the Mission mandate to focus on maintaining hygiene and cleanliness of community/public toilets, wastewater treatment and faecal sludge management through the ODF+ and ODF++ Protocols.
• As on date, 1319 cities have been certified ODF+, and 489 cities have been certified ODF++, which may be largely attributed to the Swachh Survekshan framework which has built in these indicators for promoting sustainability.
2. Bringing Swachhata Warriors Together Through Effective Citizen Engagement
• The most critical part of the Mission is behavioural change among citizens and transforming the Swachhata movement into a true ‘Jan Andolan’.
• The success in this direction is attributable to Swachh Survekshan due to its thrust on citizen engagement and feedbacks. To cite an example. Swachh Survekshan – 2020 had recorded feedback from 1.87 crore citizens.
• Several citizen engagement initiatives are built into the overall frame¬
work such as recognition of Swachhata Champions, NGOs, voluntary organisations, start-ups and CSR efforts, display of creatives and other innovative forms of communication which not only ensure continued participation of citizens but inculcate in them a sense of ownership about the Swachhata of their cities.
3. Dignity Recognition and Social Safety Net for Sanitation Workers/Waste Pickers
• SBM-U has placed a strong emphasis on improving the socio-economic conditions of sanitation workers and waste pickers who not only come from marginalised sections of society but are also vulnerable due to the nature of their jobs and lack of social safety nets.
• As a result of the built-in indicators focusing on welfare of these groups, over 84,000 informal waste pickers have been integrated into the formal workforce while over 4 lakh contractual employees have secured employment as Swachhata Warriors with ULBs. Further, over 5.5 lakh sanitation workers have been able to receive the benefits under various social welfare schemes of Central/State Government(s).
4. Enabling Digitisation of Mission Outcomes
Swachh Survekshan has actively promoted key digital innovations. To bring in efficiency and transparency in implementing solutions or introducing new interventions, there are several performance indicators that prompt ULBs to introduce digital solutions to score better marks.
Some of the key processes set-up and streamlined using technology/digital interface are summarised below:
• Swachhata App as a grievance redressal tool has become popular among citizens. It has been downloaded by 1.7 crore citizens in raising 1.97 crore complaints; out of which 1.85 crore complaints have already been resolved.
• Till date, over 59,000 public toilet blocks in 2900+ cities have been made live Google Maps.
• Swachh Manch, a digital citizen engagement platform has been developed. 1.75 lakh events involving over 7 crore citizens have been registered on this platform to showcase their work around Swachhata.
• 179+ courses on sanitation and solid waste management have been made available on an open digital platform.
5. Capacity Building of States/Cities for Effective and Seamless Knowledge Sharing
• Building knowledge and capacity of city officials has been strengthened through Swachh Survekshan framework. Prior to the survey, concerted efforts are made by the Ministry to strengthen the capacities of cities to understand the modalities of the survey.
• Since Swachh Survekshan 2017 and subsequent rounds in 2018, 2019 and 2020, Ministry conducted 35 regional workshops per year. Swachh Survekshan 2020’s workshops were attended by over 12,000 ULBs/State government officials.
• Started in a modest way in 2016, Swachh Survekshan has now turned into a motivation tool, identity and matter of pride in ‘Swachhata’ something to look forward to and aspire for the cities and States. Swachh Survekshan is a framework which truly has unleashed agility in urban governance towards achieving social outcomes.
• This framework, with its roots in creating peer pressure has the potential to transform governance in various other spheres through people’s active participation, agility and competitiveness.