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Swachh Survekshan Awards UPSC NOTE

 

  • Swachh Survekshan has been conducted since 2016 and is the world’s largest urban sanitation and cleanliness survey.

  • It has been instrumental in fostering a spirit of healthy competition among towns and cities to improve their service delivery to citizens and towards creating cleaner cities.

    • It is conducted under the ambit of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban).

    • The primary goal of Swachh Survekshan is to encourage large-scale citizen participation and create awareness amongst all sections of society about the importance of working together toward making towns and cities better places to reside in.

  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA).


Top Rank

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limitations of the Swachh Survekshan Awards 

  • In an exercise that has now become predictable, the city of Indore, in Madhya Pradesh, has been adjudged India’s cleanest city for the seventh year in a row

  • The only change is that this year, it has to share honours with Surat, Gujarat

  • Last year, Surat came second, which is not surprising as it usually occupied the higher echelons of the ranking ladder in earlier editions. 

  • There is a certain volatility beyond the top 10 — Ahmedabad, Chandigarh and Gwalior, for instance, are volatile cities — but the top cities are consistent. 

  • Another quirk of the survey is that it creates multiple sub-categories, so that many more cities have a chance at top-scoring in some category or the other. 

  • Thus, while it is meaningful to create sub-categories based on population, some classifications stretch credulity

  • Mhow in Madhya Pradesh has been awarded as the cleanest ‘cantonment’ town. 

  • Varanasi and Prayagraj are proud winners of the ‘Cleanest Ganga town’ and Chandigarh is the cleanest ‘Best Safaimitra Surakshit Sheher’ (Cities safest for sanitation workers). 

  • The underlying principle of several ranking schemes put in place by the Centre is to ‘motivate’ sections — cities, villages, schools — to pull themselves up on their own mettle.

  • While this works well for sporting contests, public sanitation is not something that is the result of a town or city actively choosing to be lazy or industrious in improving themselves. 

  • It is heavily influenced by their history, economic conditions and proximity to power. 

  • That a few cities are perpetually at the top means that there is less attention paid to the factors that hinder a general improvement in sanitation. 

  • One way to make future editions of the survey work as a useful barometer of progress is to acknowledge that consistent toppers have already put in place a well-oiled system and having done so, retire them from future rankings for a few years. 

  • This will throw focus and highlight challenges that stymie other cities

  • For civic sanitation to remain a sustainable movement, it is high time that the government intervenes and prevents it from being a numbers game.


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