India’s cleanest and dirtiest cities: Is yours among them?


Cartoon by Shekhar Gurera Pic credit: Wikipedia

There are perhaps not too many surprises in the results of the Swachh Survekshan 2019 survey, conducted between January 4th and 31st this year, by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA). Indore in Madhya Pradesh, Ambikapur in Chattisgarh, and Mysuru in Karnataka have bagged the top three ranks for the cleanest cities.

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Madhya Pradesh seems to have cracked the cleanliness conundrum in several pockets. While Indore has done a hat trick, the capital city of Bhopal is acclaimed as the cleanest capital, while another city in MP, Ujjain, also bagged the “cleanest city” award in the 3 lakh to one million (population) category.

Some positives

MoHUA claims a number of positives in this ‘world’s largest cleanliness survey’ of 4,237 cities. They describe it as a “completely digitized and paperless survey” that captured 41 lakh geotagged photographs and 4.5 lakh uploaded documents. Feedback from 64 lakh citizens and a social media outreach of 4 crore have also added to the expansion.

This year’s coverage of 4,237 cities is a marked improvement over the 4,203 cities evaluated in the 2018 survey. The scheme was started in 2016, when only cities with a population of 73 million plus were covered. In the following year, the survey was increased to 434 cities.

Other success points mentioned include 18,329 garbage vulnerable points (GVP) that were “transformed” and segregation at source being practised in 370 cities in more than 80% of their wards.

The survey methodology and indicators have been avowedly designed “to not only ensure sustainability of achieved outcomes but also garner additional engagement from citizens,” said Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

Sources of data collection

The data collected for the assessment was from

  • Online MIS portal of MoHUA for Service Level Progress
  • Direct Observation
  • Citizen Feedback
  • Certifications for (a) Garbage Free Cities and (b) Open Defecation Free Cities

Carrying a total of 5,000 marks, the weightage for the overall assessment and components of the mission was revised to include certification for ODF and sustainable sanitation. Thus each of the above carried 1250 marks each.

The main focus was on the outcome as well as sustainability. The substantiation was done by independent certification, online verification, feedback from citizens and on-ground observation.

Top-ranked ULBs with more than one lakh population

Three ULBs out of 100 were chosen to be the cleanest cities at the national level, according to four indicators, each scoring on 1250 marks. The total score worked out to be 5,000.

The top-ranked cities that have more than one lakh population are:

City Service Level Progress (1250) Certification (1250) Direct Observation (1250) Citizen feedback and Swachchta app (1250) Total marks (5000)
Indore (MP) 1239 1050 1241 1129 4659
Ambikapur (Chhattisgarh) 1194 1050 1133 1017 4394
Mysuru (Karnataka) 1195 1000 1211 972 4379

Three worst performing cities in the list of 100 are:

City Service Level Progress (1250) Certification (1250) Direct Observation (1250) Citizen feedback and Swachchta app (1250) Overall marks (5000)
Rajahmundry (AP) 327 500 1114 926 2867
Karimnagar (Telangana) 309 550 1070 933 2861
Dhule (Maharashtra) 559 350 1022 927 2858

Top-ranked ULBs with less than one lakh population

100 ULBs with less than one lakh population have also been rated on the same four parameters, each on 1250 marks. The total score worked out to be 5000. The three top-ranked cities in this category would be

City Service Level Progress (1250) Certification (1250) Direct Observation (1250) Citizen feedback and Swachchta app (1250) Total marks (5000)
Karhad (Maharashtra) 1090 750 1120 1103 4063
Lonavla (Maharashtra) 1143 700 1162 1036 4041
Mul (Maharashtra) 970 750 1159 1149 4028

The three bottom ranks in this list of 100 are:

City Service Level Progress (1250) Certification (1250) Direct Observation (1250) Citizen feedback and Swachchta app (1250) Total marks (5000)
Mhaswad (Maharashtra) 564 500 1156 908 3128
Kymore (Madhya Pradesh) 527 650 974 971 3122
Dapoli Camp (Maharashtra) 630 550 1001 941 3122

Other categories and ranks

Apart from the national level, other assessment grades include:

ULBs with above 10 lakh population at the national level

  1. India’s Cleanest Big City – Amdavad Municipal Corporation
  2. Fastest Mover Big City – Raipur Municipal Corporation
  3. Best Big City in Citizens Feedback – Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation
  4. Best Big City in Innovation & Best Practices – Jabalpur Municipal Corporation
  5. Best Big City in Solid Waste Management – Surat Municipal Corporation

ULBs that have 3-10 lakh population at the national level

  1. India’s Cleanest Medium City – Ujjain Municipal Corporation
  2. Fastest Mover Medium City – Mathura-Vrindavan Nagar Nigam
  3. Best Medium City in Citizens Feedback – Chandrapur Municipal Corporation
  4. Best Medium City in Innovation & Best Practices – Jhansi Nagar Nigam
  5. Best Medium City in Solid Waste Management –  Latur Municipal Corporation

ULBs that have 1-3 lakh population at the national level

  1. India’s Cleanest Small City – New Delhi Municipal Council
  2. Fastest Mover Small City – Orai Nagar PalikaParishad
  3. Best Small City in Citizens Feedback – Tirupati Municipal Corporation
  4. Best Small City in Innovation & Best Practices – Dewas Municipal Corporation
  5. Best Small City in Solid Waste Management – Nagda Municipal Corporation

Top-ranked state or Union Territory capital cities

  1. India’s Cleanest State Capital/UT – Bhopal Municipal Corporation
  2. Fastest Mover State Capital/UT – Chennai Municipal Corporation
  3. Best State Capital/UT in Citizens Feedback – Ranchi Municipal Corporation
  4. Best State capital/UT in Innovation & Best Practices – Greater Mumbai Municipal Corporation
  5. Best State Capital/UT in Solid Waste Management – Chandigarh Municipal Corporation

On what basis were the cities scored?

PART 1: Service Level Progress

Data was submitted by the urban local bodies into the online MIS portal of MoHUA. After that, the Municipal Commissioner or nodal officer checked the data that was entered in order to self-assess the city’s performance on the indicators/questions in the survey.

Data thus fed by mid-December, 2018 into the online MIS was only considered for assessment. This was verified by the assessor or the survey agency, but not through inter-personal interaction with the ULB officials.

PART 2: Certification, or Star Rating 

The ‘Certification’ of the city was done on two aspects: Garbage and Open Defecation Free (ODF) status, which was a revision over the earlier 2018 Swachha Survekshan protocol and assessment.

a) Garbage free cities:

A third party certification helped to give 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 7 star rating to different cities. The protocol for the rating depended on assessing whether solid waste management was sustainable or not. Citizen feedback and validation was also considered to be an “integral part of this protocol” introduced by MoHUA.

b) Open Defecation Free protocols:

In order to check for ODF protocol adherence, the Ministry assessed community or public toilet usage. The emphasis was on their functionality, cleanliness and maintenance through improved standards. The thrust was also on reaching out for sanitation sustainability. The aim was to address complete sanitation value chain, or Faecal Sludge Management.

PART 3: Direct Observation

Data was collected by a survey agency through direct observation. The survey agency used a questionnaire as a tool to observe and assess the data entered into MoHUA’s MIS portal by the ULBs. The agency also used maps, handheld devices, recording formats, photographs and videos, which were all documented with date, time and location parameters, and presented along with data and reports for every city.

The survey agency visited residential and commercial areas in every city as well as markets, bus depots, stations, airports, and bulk waste generating sites. It visited slums, randomly chosen in the north, south, west and east. It also surveyed old city parts, unplanned and planned areas, informal settlements and urban villages across diverse areas.

PART 4: Citizen Feedback

Direct, face to face feedback was collected from citizens through outbound Calls, 1969, Swachhata App, Swachh Manch and through the Swachh Survekshan-2019 portal.

The sample size was 0.1% of the city’s population, or at least a 1,000 citizens in cities that had more than 1 lakh population. In cities with less than a lakh population, at least 250 citizens were interviewed for feedback. Local citizens were normally interviewed for assessment and confirmation of information on the various indicators. A questionnaire was used as a tool for the collection of information.

[Compiled by Revathi Siva Kumar]

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