Indore retains top spot as India’s cleanest city


New Delhi: For a second year in a row, Indore in Madhya Pradesh came on top in a survey that aims to measure the degree of cleanliness in Indian cities. The second spot went to Bhopal, also in Madhya Pradesh, while Chandigarh stood third in the rankings. Jharkhand was picked as the best performing state for showing improvements across all its towns.

The government’s Swachh Survekshan survey, which is in its third edition, assessed all the 4,203 cities and towns in the country, where an estimated 400 million people reside. The 2016 and 2017 editions of the survey covered roughly 40% and 60% of the country’s urban population, respectively.

Unlike previous editions of the survey, the government will release the list of poorer performers along with the scores of individual cities separately. Gonda in Uttar Pradesh had come at the bottom of the list in 2017.

The survey broadly relied on three types of metrics to arrive at the rankings: self-declarations made by cities on where they stand, direct observation and surveys conducted by an independent agency, and citizen feedback.

Announcing the names of the better performing cities that will receive awards from the government shortly, minister for housing and urban affairs Hardeep S. Puri said:

This is the largest such survey conducted by the government on an issue of public importance. Cities have started taking the rankings seriously and treated it like a board exam.

Between January and March, nearly 2,700 assessors fanned out across every Indian city, some with population as low as 5,000. Puri said feedback was collected from over 3.7 million citizens, who could also complain directly to their municipal officials through a dedicated Swachhata app. But the process still touched only a small section of India’s urban population, which is around 377 million.

The cleanliness survey, which arose as a mechanism to evaluate progress as well as deficiencies in waste management in urban areas, underwent several changes this year in response to criticism. Apart from negative marking, which has been introduced to deter cities from submitting false information in their self-declaration, citizen feedback has a much higher weightage compared to previous years.

The push to create these new metrics was based on the fact that ranking and grading the progress made by cities has contributed more to improving cleanliness than budgetary resources, V.K. Jindal, mission director of Swachh Bharat Mission had told Mint earlier.

These non-financial tools have created much more impact than the Rs14,000 crore spent so far on SBM (urban),

he said.

The Swachh Survekshan report is an annual exercise undertaken by the urban affairs ministry to measure the progress of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission) launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2014.

Under the first survey, Swachh Survekshan-2016, 73 cities with more than 1 million population and all the state capitals were ranked. Mysuru topped the list.

In the 2017 survey, 434 cities with over 100,000 population and all the state capitals were ranked. Indore emerged as the cleanest city. The 2018 survey was the first such pan-India exercise.

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