An article by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE)on the Swachh Survekshan 2019 has created a wrong impression as the article is factuallyinaccurate. The Government has been addressing the issue of urban sanitation and waste management in a transparent and systematic manner under the aegis of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban). The article by CSE appears to have been written without an understanding of the robust methodology used in Swachh Survekshan-2019for ranking cities in an objective and unbiased manner.CSE has been a part of the consultative meeting held by MoHUA in July 2018 with all stakeholders and city representatives to discuss the survey methodology and parameters proposed to be adopted in Swachh Survekshan 2019.
CSE’s implication that the quality of survey was inferior since it was conducted in 28 days is erroneous. The data collection from ULBs was done every month, between September to December 2018.Only the ground level assessment and citizen feedback was done in 28 days. More than 3000 assessors were involved in the survey, and each of the 4,237 ULBs was physically visited by assessors, and every visit has been recorded through geo-tagging and time stamping of the assessors. ULBs were not informed about the exact date when the assessor was visiting their city this year, since assessors were not supposed to visit ULB’s office for any data collectionto have an element of surprise in the direct observation.
The article claims that cities that are doing good work on the ground were not awarded. The entire data of the first part (service level progress) was based on the information provided by cities themselves on the online MIS portal, and further validated and triangulated through direct observation and citizens’ feedback. MoHUA has not received any complaint from any state or city regarding their ranks / awards in SS 2019. More importantly, the SS 2019 scores were computed based on assessments made by four (4) different independent third party agencies who evaluated different components of the survey, making the survey objective and unbiased, while adding to the robustness of the methodology.
Finally, the article’s claim that the survey has rewarded cleanliness over sustainable waste management is erroneous. It has been publicly declared that the focus of SS 2019 was on sustaining the outcomes achieved under the SBM Urban so far. Accordingly, the indicators include sustainable ODF status (including ODF, ODF+, ODF++ certifications), sustainable solid waste and fecal sludge management practices including source segregation, daily sweeping, plastic waste management, construction & demolition waste management, collection of user charges, levy of fines, landfill remediation, sustainable waste processing for segregated waste streams, ensuring no overflow of septic tanks, and no emptying of untreated fecal sludge in water bodies, in addition to overall cleanliness of the city (including Star Rating certifications for Garbage Free cities). All these indicators are publicly available on the SBM portal
MoHUA values its partnership with all concerned stakeholders including Civil Society Organizations and has been working collaboratively with them to take forward the collective mandate of ‘swachhata’ in Urban India.