The Swachh Survekshan 2017 (second survey after the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission) was launched recently to assess and rank 500 cities and towns on the basis of the level of sanitation and efforts made respective urban local bodies towards keeping the city clean. The aim is also to capture progress towards Open Defecation Free status. A web portal Swachhta App and Swachhta Helpline 1969 were also launched to associate more citizens in urban areas with Swachh Bharat Mission.
Criteria for Ranking:
- The ranking will be based on reports by urban local bodies on progress made towards construction of toilets.
- Feedback of citizens and independent observation of sanitation levels.
- Cities to be included:
- With population of one lakh and above
- Heritage and tourism cities
- Capital cities with less than one lakh population
The survey being conducted by the Quality Council of India this time has increased its ambit from 73 to 500cities and incentivizes various players involved by rewarding the cities performing better, rewarding RWAs and workers at the grass root level. This will help in mobilizing and changing the mindset of people towards cleanliness and induce a competitive spirit among them. It is often seen that people attach themselves to their class, language etc. What is most needed here is the fact that people should associate themselves with their city i.e. a city identity which will further help in making the cleanliness campaign successful.
However, it is important to realize that the administrative and technological machinery can work only up to a certain extent. What is needed here is participatory governance seeking commitment from the communities and people as well. For example- Construction of toilets only is not going to ensure cleanliness. There has to be utilization of toilets as well by the people. By and large, the maintenance and management of toilets to make them functional has to be looked upon by people and community. This can be made possible by bringing changes in social, attitudinal and behavioural aspects of the people.
Areas of Concern:
- The percentage of household using safe drinking water in the urban areas has decreased a little in the previous years. Therefore, there is a need to monitor and validate the governments results obtained through surveys by community feedback and resource allocation should be done accordingly next time.
- States like Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat aim to be Open Defecation Free by 2017. It has been seen that the northern states of India are lagging behind. The possible reasons for this are the socio-economic conditions, illiteracy and higher poverty levels in northern part of India. It is expected that with better economic growth and increasing levels of literacy in the coming years, this gap will be bridged to some extent.
- Education is going to play a major role in determining the success of sanitation and cleanliness programmes. While primary and secondary educations are of utmost importance, educating people through indirect sources like media and newspapers can also be of great help.
- Community and people’s participation at large has to be made a reality for implementation of these programmes. Personal health and hygiene not only affects the individual but others around him/her as well. Personal priority on health has to be more than social priority.
- Children’s education should be given more importance at school level.
- Involving celebrities who have a good social acceptability can further enhance the impact of these programmes.
- Civil society organizations can use folk themes and combine healthy entertainment with a strong social message.
- ‘Asli Tarakki’ campaign has also been launched highlighting the need for construction of toilets and using them well. This campaign is to be mounted on TV channels and in print media soon brings out that having two wheelers, air coolers, TV sets etc., is not ‘Asli Tarakki’ (real development) if such people did not either have toilets or don’t use them.
This whole process will surely bring out positive results in the areas of cleanliness and sanitation and will help the government and people to move in the right direction.