500 cities to participate in Swachh Survekshan 2017

conservancy-workers Conservancy workers (from left to right) Neelam Bora (Guwahati), T. Venkataiah (Hyderabad) and B. Narak (Coimbatore) were felicitated by Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu for their exceptional service. Conservancy workers, the minister said, were the key to the success of the Swachh Bharat Mission | Rekha Dixit
  • A web based tool will enable participating cities to know where they stand in terms of various parameters of sanitation

Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday launched Swachh Survekshan 2017, the annual contest for rating cities on various parametres of cleanliness. Five hundred cities and towns, most with a population of over one lakh, will be participating in the contest, the results of which will be declared early next year.

The rankings have seen Mysore at the top spot for two consecutive years. The first ranking was based on a survey, the second rating last year was based on a contest in which 117 cities participated. This time, the participants have increased manifold. Naidu said that the 500 cities in the 2017 contest comprise 70 per cent of India's urban population.

The contest is a complicated process with different percentages dedicated to different parametres. For instance, citizen feedback gets a weightage of 30 per cent.

The event was held in Delhi and several other cities joined in via video conferencing. The Mysore team gave details on how they had gone to reach the top spot—with steps like taking garbage segregation down to even the slums.

The movement is certainly going smart. Naidu also launched a web based Swachh Survekshan Self Assessment Tool to enable participating cities to know where they stand in terms of various parameters of sanitation. The application will also help them monitor their progress over the next six months.

Naidu also launched the mobile based Swachhata App through which citizens across India can report complaints by posting pictures. All urban local bodies are mapped to the App. He also launched the Swachchata Helpline, 1969, through which citizens can avail themselves of information regarding the campaign, including ways in which they can contribute.

The Open Defecation Free or ODF campaign has hit a speedbreaker as people are still defecating in the open out of habit even though a number of toilets are being built. The ministry is now going to conduct a massive media and print campaign encouraging people to change this attitude.

Talking of progress beyond toilet construction in the Swachcha Bharat Mission, which was launched 20 months ago, Naidu said that the ministry had done a tie up with the power ministry for a waste-to-energy purchase scheme so that it would become mandatory for power distribution companies to purchase electricity thus generated, along with tariff determination. The target is to increase waste-to-energy power generation to 411 megawatts by 2018, as against 53 megawatts at present.

A similar scheme to promote conversion of waste to compost has been announced, with a market development assistance of Rs 1,500 per ton for such compost. Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan will be the face of this campaign.

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