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'We Are Ranking Cities With Happiness Index App'
Praveen Prakash, Mission Director, Swachh Bharat Mission, spoke to Manish Arora of BW Businessworld on the progress of various components of the Swachh Bharat Mission and other things
Photo Credit :
The Ministry of Urban Development created a dedicated post of Joint Secretary solely for handling the Swachh Bharat mission in order to boost Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pet initiative. At present, Joint Secretary Praveen Prakash is in charge of the mission. Praveen Prakash, Mission Director, Swachh Bharat Mission, spoke to Manish Arora of BW Businessworld on the progress of various components of the Swachh Bharat Mission and other things.
How has been the progress of Swachh Bharat Mission?
The progress has been very good in the last two and half years and we feel that mission is on track. As we know that on 2nd October 2014, the promise which was given to the nation that on 2nd October 2019, all 4041 towns will become open defecation free and as each town has his only local body and administrative who started working on this mission, I am happy to share that Out of 4041 towns till now almost 650 towns have become open defecation free. Remaining towns which are 3391 have promised that by 2 October 2018 all other towns will become ODF and we will be achieving this target almost a year ahead of what we promised.
The 2nd promise we made to the nation was we will have a robust solid waste management system in all the cities which includes waste to wealth project. It will be converting the biodegradable waste into composed and non-biodegradable waste into energy, I am happy to share that most of the cities have identified the partners and they are already working on the construction of plans and by 2nd Oct 2019 we will give citizens a clean and Swachh Bharat.
We have been talking about Swachh Bharat teams as well as local administration. How important is technology for Swachh Bharat mission?
Information technology and other technology like mechanical engineering or civil engineering are much important for Swachh Bharat Mission. Specifically talking about Information Technology in Swachh Bharat, since the beginning of this mission, we kept thinking about how we can use Information Technology to enhance the monitoring of employees as well as mission. With the help of Information Technology, a large number of cities have put up Global Positional system Mechanism in all the vehicles which collect the garbage and transport the garbage to the destination point. These cities in the real time know that whether work is being done on time or not or are they delayed or stuck somewhere. Now we are also taking a project that all this information should be put up in the public domain also. So that they have real time update about the same.
Apart from this, we have also installed the GPS system in the vehicles. We have also asked the cities to set up biometrics system for all the municipal employees. People always keep asking that government should step up their efforts that whatever tax is paid should be utilised efficiently.
We have defined the national standards for the grievance redressal to Swachh Bharat. There are only 8 to 9 types of complaints generally about this mission. Garbage overflow or street not being swept. We have set up the maximum time period in which these complaints should be redressed. This depends on the size of cities.
We have also developed a Swachhta app where citizens can take the photograph and send it to the municipality and municipality also after solving the issue will have to send the photograph back to the citizen with the problem being solved. Comments can be given by other citizens on the same problem.
Please tell us something about the Happiness Index in the cities.
Based on the resolution of the complaint given by the citizens on the Swachhta App, We are ranking cities with Happiness Index. I am happy to share that we launched the App a few months back and we have around 11 lakh download so far. We are in process of ranking the cities as per the time duration of complaints redressal.
How useful is social messaging apps in Swachh Bharat Mission?
One of the responsibilities of Government of India is also to share the best practices among different cities and secondly, any new policy changed or notification is shared to the cities. Not only the municipal commissioners but even sanitary inspectors or engineers should know about how to improve sanitations in the city.
In the social messaging applications, we have formed the groups with the key officials of all the 500 cities. We keep on sharing the new and innovative ideas to all key members of WhatsApp groups.
Later on, these best practices or ideas are shared among the team internally on WhatsApp groups so that everyone can learn and adopt that.