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Govt revises methodology for Clean India’s Swachh Survekshan for better results

The 2018 survey is also being expanded to cover 40 crore people in 4,041 cities and towns from 431 cities in 2017.

india Updated: Jul 31, 2017 22:13 IST
Moushumi Das Gupta
Moushumi Das Gupta
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Clean India,Swachh Bharat Abhiyan,Swachh Survekshan
People take part in a clean-up drive in Thane as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. (HT File Photo / Representational)

The government revised on Monday the way it assesses the cleanliness standards of cities under its Clean India campaign, responding to suggestions that the methodology for the survey Swachh Survekshan might not be robust enough.

The housing and urban affairs ministry’s cleanliness ranking released in May drew some criticism because its methodology suffered from several drawbacks, including over-reliance on self-declaration and documentation by municipalities and lack of punitive action against false claims by local civic bodies.

Hindustan Times had highlighted these shortcomings in the survey methodology in a May 7 column, Swachh Survekshan Needs to Come Clean.

The Hindustan Times May 7 column on Swachh Survekshan.

The revised methodology for the third round of the survey was launched by Union urban affairs minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Monday. It will be conducted in February 2018.

So far, self-declaration by municipalities was given a weightage of 45% while independent assessment by surveyors got 25% and citizens’ feedback 30%. But under revised criteria, the weightage given to municipalities has been reduced to 35% and that of citizens’ feedback and independent surveyors raised by 5% each.

“The feedback will be taken not only through social media, digital apps and phone calls but focused group discussions and face to face interactions. This will ensure that there is no manipulation,” said a senior ministry official. The HT article had highlighted the risks of depending primarily on digital channels to receive feedback.

A penalty clause has also been introduced. To ensure that claims made by urban local bodies matched physical progress, a 33% negative marking will be given to a city making false claims to independent assessors.

“The negative marking will ensure that cities walk the talk when it comes to improving sanitation infrastructure and service-level benchmarks,” said the official.

The 2018 survey is also being expanded to cover 40 crore people in 4,041 cities and towns from 431 cities in 2017.

“Focusing on enforcement, the 2018 survey will quantify and reward the outcomes of notifications issued by state and city governments regarding collection of user charges, sale and marketing of compost, linking of biometric attendance to payroll of sanitation staff, etc,” said housing secretary DS Mishra.

The 4041 cities will be ranked on 71 sanitation related parameters such as collection, transportation and disposal of garbage, construction of toilets linked to water supply, collection of user charges, sweeping, etc.

“The total survey score has been doubled to 4,000 marks to avoid crowding of cities with very marginal differences in scores that happened in the previous survey when the total marks was 2,000,” said another official.

First Published: Jul 31, 2017 19:29 IST