Indore and Surat have once again clinched the top honors in the Swachh Survekshan Awards-2023, reaffirming their status as the cleanest cities in India. The awards ceremony, held at Bharat Mandapam and graced by President Droupadi Murmu, marked the seventh consecutive win for Indore and the first-ever for Surat, albeit as joint winners.
Indore’s consistent commitment to cleanliness has solidified its reputation as a front-runner in the Swachh Survekshan awards, securing the top spot for seven years running. Surat, facing challenges like increasing migration and industrialization, has orchestrated an impressive turnaround, leveraging integrated infrastructure with sanitation and waste management facilities.
Navi Mumbai, maintaining its third position, showcased its sustained efforts in ensuring a clean and hygienic environment for its residents.
However, the awards also shed light on challenges faced by certain cities, especially in West Bengal. Haora (Howrah), Asansol, and Kolkata found themselves at the bottom of the list among million-plus population cities, sparking controversy and debates over the alleged political motivations behind the rankings.
In terms of municipal corporations, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) secured the 90th spot out of 446 cities in the above 100,000 population category. In contrast, the New Delhi Municipal Council area claimed the seventh position, showcasing a disparity in cleanliness within the national capital.
The Swachh Survekshan survey, a cornerstone of the Swachh Bharat mission, involved 3,000 assessors evaluating 4,500 cities on 46 parameters. President Murmu, during the ceremony, highlighted the global commitment to environmentally sound waste management, zero waste initiatives, and reducing waste generation by 2030.
Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Singh Puri, praised the evolution of the Swachh Bharat Mission from a government program to a people’s movement. He emphasized that every city in India is now open-defecation-free, attributing this success to the collective efforts of the citizens.
The rankings also extended to states and union territories, with Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh leading the states, while Rajasthan, Mizoram, and Arunachal Pradesh faced challenges at the bottom. Chandigarh was recognized as the best “Safaimitra Surakshit Sheher,” showcasing its institutional capacity and safe working conditions for sanitation workers.
The theme for the 2023 Swachh Survekshan Awards was “Waste to Wealth for Garbage-Free Cities.” The evaluation covered 9,500 points, emphasizing service level progress, certification of cleanliness, and feedback from residents.
As the nation progresses in its cleanliness journey, these awards not only celebrate achievements but also act as a mirror reflecting the challenges and areas for improvement. The controversies surrounding certain city rankings underscore the need for transparency and a collective commitment to the goals of the Swachh Bharat Mission. The success stories of cities like Indore, Surat, and Navi Mumbai serve as inspiration, urging others to adopt best practices for a cleaner and more sustainable future.