As many as 52% of citizens find their city cleaner 600 days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Swachh Bharat (Clean India) initiative, a countrywide survey has found.
“At 600 days, Swachh Bharat is making progress but civic sense awareness and municipal engagement and effectiveness remain a critical challenge,” LocalCircles, which conducted the online survey of over 40,000 citizens, said.
Interestingly, only 21 per cent citizens had found their city cleaner one year after the initiative was launched.
Twenty-three percent of citizens said availability of public toilets had improved, against only 12 percent who had found an improvement a year after the drive began.
Fifty-percent felt civic sense awareness was the most important driver for improving cleanliness, while 40 percent felt municipal engagement and effectiveness was needed for better cleanliness.
Responding to the question: How is your city since the launch of Swachh Bharat on October 2, 2014, 11 per cent said it was much cleaner while 41 percent said it was somewhat cleaner. However, 40 per cent said there was no change while eight per cent said things had gotten worse.
Responding to the question on the availability of public toilets, a whopping 64 per cent said there had been no change, while 13 percent took the can’t say route.
The respondents also had some suggestions on how the initiative could be improved: Among them:
* Quarterly city-level events following a common structure and led by the local municipal commissioner and mayor should be organized engaging citizens, NGOs, local celebrities, corporates, and community organizations in every city
* The objective of these events should be to take up key city challenges (not individual grievances) in the area of waste management, public toilets, open defecation
* Municipalities should outline their annual plan, money available for Swachh Bharat, challenges and seek citizen inputs on how to overcome them online and via quarterly events
* All municipal commissioners should join their city’s respective Swachh Bharat citizen circle to remain connected with citizens and should have a dedicated social media focal
* A Swachh Bharat ambassador (an appointed one or a local celebrity) should be part of the quarterly review
* As appropriate, a local advisory board, including active citizens, may be formed for Swachh Bharat in every city which may meet monthly or more often
* Garbage pickers and municipal workers with exceptional delivery in the previous quarter must be nominated through a process and felicitated in the quarterly meeting
* Any RWAs that have done good cleanliness work in last quarter must also be recognized with some civic incentives like trees planted, park renovation and the like
* Civic sense awareness drives must be planned for the year with citizen participation and scheduled for every month
* Every street consisting of not more than 100 houses should be asked to form one Swachh Bharat team and should maintain their streets along with municipality officials with potential competition between localities
* A citizen rating system can also be rolled out where citizens rate their municipality and the municipality, state and central Swachh Bharat Directorate has access to all ratings at all times
* A system could also be announced where a municipality that has received Swachh Bharat funds and continues to have a low rating on delivery metrics in six months is liable for action
* Year-wise targets could be fixed by the Mission Directorate, for municipalities and monetary awards should be given as incentive to those who fulfil the targets.
LocalCircles (localcircles.com) is a citizen engagement platform that connects citizens at local, city and national level to participate in governance and make their urban life better. It claims it has more than 1,000,000 citizens connected on it across the country.