The way to clean cities

The country needs a great many more drains and drain inspectors

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet programme, Swachh Bharat, has a long way to go. The Swachh Sarvekshan 2016 rankings for 73 cities, based on cleanliness and sanitation, were announced on Monday.

Improvements have been made by cities since the last survey, but there are stark intra- and inter-state disparities. Mysuru, which came first, scored 100% in waste processing and disposal, whereas Dhanbad, the coal capital of the country and the worst performer of the lot, scored a mere 5%. And the New Delhi Municipal Council area was fourth when three other municipalities in the capital region figured below the halfway mark.

A real-time survey of the country’s solid waste management and community toilet provision and planning is a welcome step. But, to borrow from Mahatma Gandhi’s criticism of Katherine Mayo’s infamous book, the country needs a great many more drains and drain inspectors.