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Dhrubo Jyoti, New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet Swachh Bharat initiative may be celebrating two
years with much fanfare on Sunday but just a fifth of the respondents in a recent nationwide survey say local municipalities have improved garbage collection or cleanliness.
The study found the hygiene has visibly improved in only four states – three of them ruled by the BJP while the rest of India reported marginal or no change, despite high-profile endorsements by top politicians and stars and a government drive to build toilets.
The survey – conducted by citizen engagement platform LocalCircles – said Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra showed the most improvement while Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Bihar reported no change. Other states showed marginal improvement.
“The survey shows gradual progress but municipalities still remain a major area of concern. Municipal bodies are still not fully engaged with citizens or even the mission,“ said K Yatish Rajawat, chief strategy officer, LocalCircles.
More than half of all survey respondents said civic sense hadn’t improved in the last two years and 71% said they don’t have phone numbers of municipal staff. 87% said they frequently observed plastic or hazardous waste dumped in their city. Only a fifth thought availability of public toilets had improved since Swachh Bharat was kicked off in 2014.
A separate study by data journalism website IndiaSpend showed that some of the worst-performing states — Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Jharkhand — had a history of poor sanitation efforts.
Government data showed just 23% households in these five states use toilets, an increase of only 2% over 15 years.
These worst-performing states were the same as those under the Total Sanitation Campaign, launched 17 years ago by NDA-1—the first time the National Democratic Alliance came to power.