Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, launched in 2014 by Government of India, is a mission which aims to eliminate open defecation and improve waste management throughout the country through good governance and community participation. As a part of Swachh Bharat Mission, Swachh Survekshan was launched in 2016 and surveyed 73 cities. By 2020 it grew up to cover 4242 cities and emerged as the largest annual cleanliness survey of hygiene, cleanliness and sanitation in the world. It is conducted by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and covers and ranks all the cities under Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban (SBM-U).
The survey is to encourage citizen participation in sanitation measures, improve sustainability measures and ensure garbage free and open defecation free cities, and create awareness among the citizens about community approach towards cleanliness and sustainability. Owing to the ranks that are awarded, it also promotes healthy competition among cities and towns to improve their service delivery to citizens and aim for a cleaner space. Quality Council of India, established as an autonomous body by Government of India in 1997, evaluates the performance of the cities based on several factors.
MoHUA conducted the 6th edition of the survey this year which marked a participation of 4,320 cities pushing it to a new milestone. The citizen participation, MoHUA said, also showed the increased awareness and success of the survey which received 5 crore feedbacks compared to 1.87 crore received in the 5th edition. Rankings were announced by President Ram Nath Kovind in the “Swachh Amrit Mahotsav” event organized by MoHUA in Delhi on 20th November 2021. Indore remained on the top of the list for the fifth consecutive year as the cleanest city of India, followed by Surat and Vijayavada at the second and third position respectively. Chhattisgarh topped the States’ list for the third time. The improvement in the ranks of several cities and towns came as a reward for good governance models and citizen participation, while many cities and towns slipped down their ranks owing to COVID 19 and deterioration in other factors leaving enough room for improvement in the upcoming year.