500 Cities & Towns to Vie for 'Cleanest Area'
After cities tried to outdo each other to get the "smart city" tag, now 500 cities and towns with more than one lakh population (100.000) will compete to rank among the cleanest urban areas in the country. This will include all state capitals, heritage and tourism destinations. A similar assessment will also start for all the villages across the country.
The urban development ministry on Saturday launched the Swachh Surveskshan (cleanliness survey) that will start from January 2017 where citizens' feedback will be key to ranking cities.
Urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu said this survey will cover 70% of the country's urban population and the results will help government understand the sanitation status of urban India.
The nationwide survey both in urban and rural areas will be done by Quality Council of India.
The urban development ministry, which is carrying out such a survey for the third time has increased the weightage being given to citizens' feedback while ranking cities on sanitation parameters.
Justifying this increase and the reduction in weightage given to municipalities' response, Naidu said there have been cases when people have expressed surprise to find their cities ranking high in the cleanliness index ones when results were declared.
"It's natural that the municipalities will give the best reports. So, we need to get people's response and an independent third party assessment," the minister said.
The ministry also launched 'Swachhata App' and 'Swachhta Helpline 1969' to enable citizens associate more and more with the mission in urban areas. Meanwhile, the drinking water and sanitation ministry has added a new feature in its Swachh Bharat App enabling people to rank their villages.
Earlier the urban development ministry had come out with the cleanliness ranking of 423 cities in 2015 and in January this year 73 cities with each having more than a million population and state capitals were ranked on sanitation parameters.
Source: The Times of India