Housing and urban affairs minister Hardeep Singh Puri will on Friday launch a slew of initiatives under the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) and Swachh Survekshan 2019. Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said the Swachh Bharat Mission has resulted in remarkable progress in cleanliness and sanitation. According to the government, under the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban), urban areas of 18 states, and a total of 3,223 cities have become open defecation free (ODF), and 2,712 cities among them have been certified as ODF through an independent third party. Modi had expressed happiness at the World Health Organisation lauding India for accelerated sanitation coverage. He said the observations by the WHO in a study on India's strides in cleanliness and sanitation are fascinating. On Friday, Puri will also launch the ease of living index along with an ease of living index dashboard, a release said. The ease of living index is an initiative of the ministry to help cities assess their livability vis-\u00e0-vis global and national benchmarks and encourage cities to move towards an \u2018outcome-based\u2019 approach to urban planning and management. The ease of living assessment standards are closely linked to the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and will provide a strong impetus to India\u2019s effort for systematic tracking progress of SDGs in urban areas.