Swachh Bharat

India’s cleanest cities: Citizen engagement drives the rankings

The government evaluated performance on citizen engagement through the Swachhata-MoUD mobile app.

If you are happy with your city’s cleanliness and want it to be recognised, it might be a good idea to begin by downloading a government mobile phone application.

Citizen engagement appears to be driving national cleanliness rankings more than municipal claims and independent verifications, according to an IndiaSpend analysis of 20 cities in the 2017 Swachh Survekshan (Cleanliness Survey) report released by the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD).

The government evaluated cities’ performance on citizen engagement through a mobile application Swachhata-MoUD – which can be downloaded from Google Play Store – for a maximum of 150 points of the total 600 points for “citizen engagement”.

Of the 20 cities that IndiaSpend studied, 13 scored 85 points and above in the “Swachhata App” sub-category. Nine of these saw an average rise of 10 ranks over 2016. The seven cities that scored 80 points and below fell 36 ranks behind, on average, the analysis showed.

“The Survekshan methodology needs a serious relook as it is rewarding cities with environmentally unsustainable practices and discouraging cities working towards behaviour change and local solutions,” Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, Centre for Science and Environment, a New Delhi-based environmental think tank, was quoted as saying in this Financial Express report.

“The methodology used to rank cities appears flawed” due to reasons such as leaning heavily on declarations made by municipalities, mistaking relative outcomes for absolute values and the vulnerability of citizen feedback to manipulation, the Hindustan Times reported on May 7.

Citizen engagement

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

Unlike in 2016 when the report assessed 73 cities, 434 cities have been assessed this year and ranked on the basis of cleanliness and sanitation.

The Ministry of Urban Development modified the scoring pattern for ranking cities on cleanliness this year: It transferred 100 points previously allotted to “municipal documentation” to “citizen engagement”.

Municipal documentation refers to urban local bodies’ assessment of their own infrastructure efforts on collection, transportation and disposal of solid waste, and strategies for open defecation-free towns.

Citizen engagement consists of two parts: online, telephonic and social media surveys, and the use of the Swachhata App for citizens to connect with their urban local bodies. The app, as we said, carries 150 points, which accounts for 25% of citizen feedback points (600 points) and holds 7.5% weightage in the overall scoring of 2,000 points.

The app, which seeks to connect urban local bodies with citizens to identify and solve local waste management issues, has been downloaded up to 1 million times, according to data from Google Play Store. For perspective, India has 367.4 million internet subscribers while its urban population is over 377 million.

Citizens can post a complaint of garbage pile-ups and mismanagement by taking a picture and posting it through the app. The app captures the location and forwards it to the concerned city-corporation after which it is assigned to the concerned ward-level sanitary inspector. Citizens can also check the status of their complaint.

Weightage for the third parameter “direct observation” – on-ground inspection of actual work carried out to improve sanitation and hygiene – remained unchanged at 500 points.

Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh have emerged as the top two states with the most number of clean cities, 12 and 11, respectively, in India’s top 50 clean cities, IndiaSpend reported on May 5.

Cleanest cities

While higher scores on documentation and observation did not necessarily translate to better rankings, Swachhata App and citizen engagement scores seem to be directly correlated to city rankings, an IndiaSpend analysis showed.

We analysed the scores and ranks of 20 cities – the top 10 cities of 2016 and 2017, and those declared as “fastest moving” with a population of over a million.

Tirupati, which did not feature in the 2016 Swachh Survekshan report, was ranked ninth in 2017 after scoring the highest (135/150) in the Swachhata App sub-category.

Indore and Bhopal, which hold the first and second ranks, respectively, jumped 24 and 19 spots ahead from 2016, scoring 120 and 130 points on the app.

Chandigarh, Rajkot, Pimpri-Chinchwad and Greater Mumbai, which were in the top 10 in 2016, fell nine, 11, 19 and 63 spots behind to 11th, 18th, 29th and 72nd, respectively, in 2017 after scoring 30-80 points in the Swachhata App sub-category.

Gangtok, which was ranked eighth in 2016, scored zero on the app and fell to the 50th rank in 2017.

Higher scoring in the overall segment of “citizen engagement”, including citizen feedback through online surveys, phone surveys and social media, helped the rise of 2017’s top four cities – Indore, Bhopal, Vishakhapatnam and Surat.

Indore, while failing to achieve top scores in other parameters, scored over others in the “citizen engagement” parameter to bag the title of the “cleanest city in India”.

Bhopal ranked second overall, and holds the second-highest score in the Swachhata App (130). The two Madhya Pradesh cities held the 25th and 21st ranks in 2016.

Visakhapatnam showed the highest number of citizens engaging with the urban local bodies – 190,000 – among the cities considered for the study, and rose from fifth to third rank in 2017. The port city scored 90 on the Swachhata App.

Source: Swachh Survekshan reports 2016, 2017Note: *
Source: Swachh Survekshan reports 2016, 2017Note: *"Fastest Moving City” with 1 million+ population in 2017 Swachcha Survekshan report. Tirupati did not feature in the 2016 Swachh Survekshan report.

Cleanliness efforts

Of the cities that figured in the list of top 10 cities of 2016, only half remained in the top 10 in 2017: Chandigarh, Rajkot, Pimpri-Chinchwad, Gangtok and Greater Mumbai dropped below the 10th rank.

Better scoring on “municipal documentation” did not lead to improved rankings: Chandigarh scored the highest (883 on 900) among all cities in the study, but dropped nine ranks to 11th in the 2017 report (from second place in 2016).

Greater Mumbai, which dropped from 10th to 29th this year, scored 91.5% in this category, above Tirupati (89.9%), now ranked ninth. The overall scores of both Chandigarh and Greater Mumbai had declined by 0.8% and 0.07%.

High scores on “direct observation” did not yield better results. Mysuru, ranked first in 2016, fell to fifth rank in 2017 despite scoring the third highest (460 on 500) on this parameter. It scored 0.3% lower than the previous year.

Referring to Mysuru, which had also topped the rankings in 2014, Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu asserted that it did not imply cleanliness has declined in the city. “The spirit of competition is sought to be promoted through such surveys to help cities know where they stand in absolute terms and in relation to other cities as well.”

While the report does not offer explanations for the decline of the top 10 cities in 2016, Indore’s efforts in sanitation lauded in the report ranged from segregating waste to using plastic waste for road construction and repair. It also praised the city for drawing “graffiti on walls” to spread awareness and for “composing melodious jingles to encourage mass participation which plays in the garbage collection trucks as they traverse the city”.

The efforts of Bhopal, Visakhapatnam and Surat mentioned in the report range from converting waste to energy and practising on-site composting to erecting “Asli Tarakki (real progress) hoardings and awareness by Swachhatagrahis”.

At the fifth spot, Mysuru’s sanitation and hygiene endeavours, as described in the 2017 report, are nearly the same as its competitors ranked ahead. While the southern city, unlike the top four, does not track its garbage collection vehicles with global positioning system or engage informal waste-pickers (Bhopal does not do this either), the report praises its unique efforts to privatise garbage collection and transportation.

Source: Swachh Survekshan report 2017
Source: Swachh Survekshan report 2017

This article first appeared on Indiaspend, a data-driven and public-interest journalism non-profit.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Top picks, best deals and all that you need to know for the Amazon Great Indian Festival

We’ve done the hard work so you can get right to what you want amongst the 40,000+ offers across 4 days.

The Great Indian Festival (21st-24th September) by Amazon is back and it’s more tempting than ever. This edition will cater to everyone, with offers on a range of products from electronics, home appliances, apparel for men and women, personal care, toys, pet products, gourmet foods, gardening accessories and more. With such overwhelming choice of products and a dozen types of offers, it’s not the easiest to find the best deals in time to buy before your find gets sold out. You need a strategy to make sure you avail the best deals. Here’s your guide on how to make the most out of the Great Indian Festival:

Make use of the Amazon trio – Amazon Prime, Amazon Pay and Amazon app

Though the festival officially starts on 21st, Amazon Prime members will have early access starting at 12 noon on 20th September itself, enabling them to grab the best deals first. Sign up for an Amazon Prime account to not miss out on exclusive deals and products. Throughout the festival, Prime members will 30-minute early access to top deals before non-Prime members. At Rs 499/- a year, the Prime membership also brings unlimited Amazon Prime video streaming and quick delivery benefits.

Load your Amazon pay wallet; there’s assured 10% cashback (up to Rs 500). Amazon will also offer incremental cashbacks over and above bank cashbacks on select brands as a part of its Amazon Pay Offers. Shopping from the app would bring to you a whole world of benefits not available to non-app shoppers. App-only deals include flat Rs 1,250 off on hotels on shopping for more than Rs 500, and flat Rs 1,000 off on flights on a roundtrip booking of Rs 5,000 booking from Yatra. Ten lucky shoppers can also win one year of free travel worth Rs 1.5 lakhs.

Plan your shopping

The Great Indian Sale has a wide range of products, offers, flash sales and lightning deals. To make sure you don’t miss out on the best deals, or lose your mind, plan first. Make a list of things you really need or have been putting off buying. If you plan to buy electronics or appliances, do your research on the specs and shortlist the models or features you prefer. Even better, add them to your wishlist so you’re better able to track your preferred products.

Track the deals

There will be lightning deals and golden hour deals throughout the festival period. Keep track to avail the best of them. Golden-hour deals will be active on the Amazon app from 9.00pm-12.00am, while Prime users will have access to exclusive lightning deals. For example, Prime-only flash sales for Redmi 4 will start at 2.00pm and Redmi 4A at 6.00pm on 20th, while Nokia 6 will be available at Rs 1,000 off. There will be BOGO Offers (Buy One Get One free) and Bundle Offers (helping customers convert their TVs to Smart TVs at a fraction of the cost by using Fire TV Stick). Expect exclusive product launches from brands like Xiaomi (Mi Band 2 HRX 32 GB), HP (HP Sprocket Printer) and other launches from Samsung and Apple. The Half-Price Electronics Store (minimum 50% off) and stores offering minimum Rs 15,000 off will allow deal seekers to discover the top discounts.

Big discounts and top picks

The Great Indian Festival is especially a bonanza for those looking to buy electronics and home appliances. Consumers can enjoy a minimum of 25% off on washing machines, 20% off on refrigerators and 20% off on microwaves, besides deals on other appliances. Expect up to 40% off on TVs, along with No-Cost EMI and up to Rs 20,000 off on exchange.

Home Appliances

Our top picks for washing machines are Haier 5.8 Kg Fully Automatic Top Loading at 32% off, and Bosch Fully Automatic Front Loading 6 Kg and 7 Kg, both available at 27% discount. Morphy Richards 20 L Microwave Oven will be available at a discount of 38%.

Our favorite pick on refrigerators is the large-sized Samsung 545 L at 26% off so you can save Rs 22,710.

There are big savings to be made on UV water purifiers as well (up to 35% off), while several 5-star ACs from big brands will be available at greater than 30% discount. Our top pick is the Carrier 1.5 Ton 5-star split AC at 32% off.

Also those looking to upgrade their TV to a smart one can get Rs. 20,000 off by exchanging it for the Sony Bravia 108cm Android TV.

Personal Electronics

There’s good news for Apple fans. The Apple MacBook Air 13.3-inch Laptop 2017 will be available at Rs 55,990, while the iPad will be available at 20% off. Laptops from Lenovo, Dell and HP will be available in the discount range of 20% to 26%. Top deals are Lenovo Tab3 and Yoga Tab at 41% to 38% off. Apple fans wishing to upgrade to the latest in wearable technology can enjoy Rs 8,000 off on the Apple Watch series 2 smartwatch.

If you’re looking for mobile phones, our top deal pick is the LG V20 at Rs 24,999, more than Rs 5000 off from its pre-sale price.

Power banks always come in handy. Check out the Lenovo 13000 mAh power bank at 30% off.

Home printers are a good investment for frequent flyers and those with kids at home. The discounted prices of home printers at the festival means you will never worry about boarding passes and ID documents again. The HP Deskjet basic printer will be available for Rs 1,579 at 40% off and multi-function (printer/ scanner/ Wi-Fi enabled) printers from HP Deskjet and Canon will also available at 33% off.

The sale is a great time to buy Amazon’s native products. Kindle E-readers and Fire TV Stick will be on sale with offers worth Rs 5,000 and Rs 1,000 respectively.

The Amazon Fire Stick
The Amazon Fire Stick

For those of you who have a bottomless collection of movies, music and photos, there is up to 60% off on hard drives and other storage devices. Our top picks are Rs 15,000 and Rs 12,000 off on Seagate Slim 5TB and 4TB hard drives respectively, available from 8.00am to 4.00pm on 21st September.

The sale will see great discounts of up to 60% off on headphones and speakers from the top brands. The 40% off on Bose QC 25 Headphones is our favourite. Top deals are on Logitech speakers with Logitech Z506 Surround Sound 5.1 multimedia Speakers at 60% off and the super compact JBL Go Portable Speaker at 56% off!

Other noteworthy deals

Cameras (up to 55% off) and camera accessories such as tripods, flash lights etc. are available at a good discount. Home surveillance cameras too will be cheaper. These include bullet cameras, dome cameras, simulated cameras, spy cameras and trail and game cameras.

For home medical supplies and equipment, keep an eye on the grooming and personal care section. Weighing scales, blood pressure monitors, glucometers, body fat monitors etc. will be available at a cheaper price.

The sale is also a good time to invest in home and kitchen supplies. Mixer-grinders and juicers could see lightning deals. Don’t ignore essentials like floor mops with wheels, rotating mop replacements, utensils, crockery etc. Tupperware sets, for example, will be more affordable. There are attractive discounts on bags, especially laptop bags, backpacks, diaper bags and luggage carriers.

Interesting finds

While Amazon is extremely convenient for need-based shopping and daily essentials, it is also full of hidden treasures. During the festival, you can find deals on telescopes, polaroid cameras, smoothie makers, gym equipment, gaming consoles and more. So you’ll be able to allow yourself some indulgences!

Small shopping

If you have children, the festival is good time to stock up on gifts for Diwali, Christmas, return gifts etc. On offer are gaming gadgets such as Xbox, dough sets, Touching Tom Cat, Barbies, classic board games such as Life and more. There are also some products that you don’t really need, but kind of do too, such as smartphone and tablet holders, magnetic car mounts for smartphones and mobile charging station wall stands. If you’re looking for enhanced functionality in daily life, do take a look at the Amazon Basics page. On it you’ll find USB cables, kitchen shears, HDMI cables, notebooks, travel cases and other useful things you don’t realise you need.

Check-out process and payment options

Amazon is also offering an entire ecosystem to make shopping more convenient and hassle-free. For the festival duration, Amazon is offering No-Cost EMIs (zero interest EMIs) on consumer durables, appliances and smartphones, plus exchange schemes and easy installation services in 65 cities. HDFC card holders can avail additional 10% cashback on HDFC credit and debit cards. Customers will also get to “Buy Now and Pay in 2018” with HDFC Credit Cards, as the bank offers a 3 Month EMI Holiday during the days of the sale. Use Amazon Pay balance for fast and easy checkouts, quicker refunds and a secured shopping experience.

Sales are fun and with The Great Indian Festival offering big deals on big brands, it definitely calls for at least window shopping. There’s so much more than the above categories, like minimum 50% off on American Tourister luggage! To start the treasure hunt, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Amazon.in and not by the Scroll editorial team.