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Status of Clean India Campaign (Swachh Bharat Abhiyan)

Status of Clean India Campaign (Swachh Bharat Abhiyan)

Organized at 3 PM GMT on 25th November, 2015



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Ranjith Annepu moderated the panel

Madhumitha Rajendran performed research and put together this quick summary of the panel and some of her favourite quotes


JYOTI KUMAR, Andhra Pradesh Technology Development & Promotion Centre (APTDC)

In waste management, India has made great progress over 20 years, compared to western countries. Thanks to their experience, the learning curve has been shorter for India.

  • The Clean India Campaign, initiated by the Prime Minister, is a good campaign because it has created a national agenda. It has been given the highest level of importance and priority, as it is being driven from the topmost level in the country.
  • The campaign has created a conducive environment for things to fall in place at a rapid pace. The Government is giving financial support, proper terms and conditions, and support to the industry.
  • Waste management does not merely include disposal. It has various components, starting from collection, transport, temporary storage, processing and disposal, for successfully implementing solid waste management (SWM).

A significant progress has been made in improving collection and transportation of waste. The other components, processing and disposal have a long way to go.

  • The Minister of Urban Development has recently said in a conference that many incentives will be announced by the Government. For example: Rupees 7.90 per unit of power as a standard throughout India, and making it mandatory to buy 1 bag of compost with every 2 bags of urea from fertilizer companies. If the minister fulfills his promise, and a demand for compost will help bring forth projects.
  • The intention and understanding is there, which was absent as early as 5 years ago.
    The most important change required is that the Government needs to understand that waste management is a social issue and an obligation to the municipal body, and they should not think that responsibility is transferred by signing a contract with a private party.
  • There are two components for a project: the technology and commercial viability (finances). Understanding the right technology is important, both industry and local bodies are better aware of technology options available in the country. There is no single solution for the problem, a suitable technology needs to be chosen and implemented, based on the situation.
  • Waste to Energy projects have received interest from the corporate side. Investors have confidence that WTE will run, despite pollution and efficiency concerns. Interest from the industry is primarily because of rising fuel prices and corporate companies, which are big consumers of fuel, are interested in finding a cheaper alternative for fuel. Hence cement industries are interested in RDF and power.
  • Positives: taking responsibility and trying to find a solution.

I don’t think the Jindal project will be closed. Corporate companies entering waste management sector are more responsible and have the money to manage the projects. However, there has been a public outcry regarding their emissions, which needs to be addressed.

  • As a technology provider or consultant, the greatest victory is that they have successfully burnt 2000 MT of waste, with the plant capacity at 2050 MT. This means that they are consistently taking up garbage.
  • Jindal is quoting for other projects in waste-to-energy, which clearly shows their interest.
  • The JP project in Chandigarh is a 500 MT Refuse derived fuel plant, which cost 35 crores. JP has invested the money and continuously run it for 5 years, at a loss. Financial viability is an issue, but it has not stopped the plant.
  • People have realized the effect of pollution on weather, and this will not change with a change in Government.


Prof. SRINIVAS CHARY VEDALAAdministrative Staff College of India (ASCI)

Clean India Campaign has three distinct components:

  • Eliminating open defecation in rural and urban areas
    • Toilet construction has made rapid progress because it gained traction across political parties and gained the imagination of the country.
    • Cheating problems, supply side capacity gaps and quality issues represent challenges.
    • Mandatory 2% CSR contribution has helped, as many toilets are being built by corporate companies in public and private sector. The private sector has been quite slow, and can do much better.
  • Dealing with solid waste management in rural and urban areas
    • It has been recognized as a big issue and gained enormous interest.
    • Significant improvement has been seen in door to door collection, primary and secondary collection, transportation to outside city limits and cleaning roads.
    • Key challenges are in treatment and disposal aspects, policies in waste-to-energy, and quality of service delivery standards.
  • Behaviour change: information, education and communication change of mindset towards sanitation.
    • It will take a long time, although there is a strong political advocacy right from top to bottom.
    • Swachh Bharat is a common word, and every child in a school knows about handwashing, clean toilets, etc.

100% waste collection and transportation has not been achieved, based on the ranking of 75 cities with respect to collection and service delivery.

  • Data has been captured from Municipal Corporation, and the ranking has been validated by field visits and citizen feedback.
  • There is a huge gap in the primary data and benchmarks are yet to be met in door to door collection, transportation and street sweeping.
  • No city can claim that they have comprehensive waste segregation system in place, and are present in a working stage.

Land availability is a major issue in many states; the vibrant informal recycling industry cannot be pushed out, which leaves predominantly compostable material, which requires land. Regional approach to procurement can minimize the land economy of scale required.

  • Integrated systems cannot be achieved in the next couple of years. It will take a decade (or more).
  • Half a dozen good practices are emerging in Pune, Rajkot, etc. 10-15 cities will move forward, while others will take time.
  • Policies are needed to promote recycling, informal sector and producer responsibility. The very loosely structured informal markets are contributing significantly to the recycling sector. In Hyderabad, there are 120 recycling plants with 1000s of informal ragpickers and secondary and tertiary industries involved. There is no clear direction or regulation. We should not disturb that, but allow it to continue in a guided and regulated way.

The big challenges are:

  • Meticulous structuring of projects is required: Rushing forward with many projects without structuring and feeling sad if they aren’t working after 5 years should be avoided by proper planning.
  • Building capacity at a local level: Building capacity of the municipality and state government to have the ability to manage these projects with private partnerships. The Government maintain accountability and not offload responsibility to the private sector.
  • Profitability of projects is linked to municipal financing, which is required to sustain projects.
  • Ability of private sector to sustain momentum: Few private sector companies sustained their ability to stay in the waste management sector. Many companies exit into roads and other industries.

It is equally important to strengthen supply side capacity, create an ecosystem where the right credible players come in with structured projects and have the ability to stay in the market.

  • The Clean India Campaign (Swachh Bharat Abhiyan) is a people’s campaign, and people realize the importance of public health and cleanliness. The campaign will sustain irrespective of which Government or political party comes to power after the next 4 years.


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