Urban affairs ministry gives 5-star rating to 6 garbage-free cities

Ministry of housing and urban affairs has accorded 5-star status to six cities, including Ambikapur, Rajkot, Surat, Mysuru, Indore and Navi Mumbai, based on their success in garbage disposal, for the assessment year 2019-2020. 

Another 65 cities have been granted 3-star rating while 70 cities have been rated 1-star.  
While announcing the results of the `Star Rating of Garbage Free Cities’ at an event in New Delhi on Tuesday, minister of state for housing and urban affairs Hardeep S Puri also launched the revised protocol for Star Rating of Garbage Free Cities.
The ministry launched the Star Rating Protocol in January 2018 to institutionalise a mechanism for cities to achieve garbage-free status, and to motivate cities to achieve higher degrees of cleanliness. 
“The importance of sanitation and effective solid waste management has been brought to the forefront now due to the Covid crisis. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to say that the present situation could have been much worse had it not been for the critical part that SBM-U has played in the last five years to ensure a high degree of cleanliness and sanitation in urban areas. Five years ago, we introduced Swachh Survekshan (SS), the annual cleanliness survey for urban India that has proven immensely successful when it comes to improving urban cleanliness through a spirit of healthy competition. However, since it is a ranking system, several of our cities, despite doing exceptionally well, were not being recognised appropriately. The ministry, therefore, devised the Star Rating Protocol for Garbage Free Cities - a comprehensive framework similar to our examination systems where each ward in every city must achieve a certain standard across 24 different components of solid waste management (SWM) and is graded based on overall marks received,” the minister said while addressing the media.
“Our aim is to institutionalise as well as bring consistency and transparency when it comes to SWM. This certification is not only an acknowledgement of the clean status of urban local bodies and strengthened SWM systems but also a mark of trust and reliability akin to universally known standards. Moreover, the performance of cities under the Star Rating Protocol is crucial as it carries significant weightage when it comes to their final assessment in Swachh Survekshan,” he added.
The rating is based on various parameters such as cleanliness of drains and water bodies, plastic waste management, managing construction and demolition waste, etc, which are critical drivers for achieving garbage free cities. While the key thrust of this protocol is on SWM, it also takes care of ensuring certain minimum standards of sanitation through a set of prerequisites defined in the framework.
The rating is done through a three-stage assessment process. In the first stage, ULBs populate their progress data on the portal along with supporting documents within a particular timeframe. The second stage involves a desktop assessment by a third-party agency selected and appointed by MoHUA. Claims of cities that clear the desktop assessment are then verified through independent field level observations. 
In the recent phase of Star Rating Assessment, 1,435 cities applied. The ministry also received feedbacks from 11.9 million citizens and over 1 million geo-tagged pictures were collected and 5,175 solid waste processing plants were visited by 1,210 field assessors.  While 698 cities cleared the desktop assessment, 141 cities have been certified with Star Rating during field assessment. 
Additionally, in the light of the Covid crisis, MoHUA has issued detailed guidelines to all states and cities on special cleaning of public places and collection and disposal of bio-medical waste from quarantined households. MoHUA, in the first week of April, also revised its citizen grievance redressal platform, Swacchata App in order to enable citizens to get their Covid-related issues also redressed by their respective ULBs. 
Elaborating on the way forward for the mission, the minister said, “Our vision is to ensure holistic and sustainable sanitation across urban India through effective faecal sludge management through safe containment, transportation, disposal and processing along with 100 per cent wastewater treatment in cities before discharging into water bodies, and their maximum possible reuse. We also intend to achieve 100 per cent scientific and resource efficient SWM based on 3R and circular economy. While we will continue our work on the fundamentals of SWM, i.e. effective collection, segregation and processing, our focus will also include bioremediation of all dumpsites, single use plastic free India and efficient construction and demolition waste management. We are confident that in the next phase of SBM – U, we will be able to make all our cities ODF+ and at least 3-Star Garbage free certified and our cities and towns will continue to set new benchmarks in Swachhata thus paving the way for a “Swachh”, “Swasth”, “Shashakt” and “Sampann” AtmaNirbhar  New India.
Since its launch in 2014, Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban (SBM-U) has made significant progress in the area of both sanitation and solid waste management. Today, 4,324 urban local bodies (ULBs) have been declared ODF (4,204 certified ODF), 1,306 cities certified ODF+ and 489 cities certified ODF++.  Moreover, 6.6 million individual household toilets and over 6 lakh community/ public toilets have been constructed/ or are under construction. In the area of solid waste management, 96% of wards have 100 per cent door-to door collection while 65% of the total waste generated is being processed.