India – Cities to be rated on public health/sanitation
Mumbai, March 2
After ratings for hospitals and Initial Public Offerings (IPO), now cities will get graded on how well they handle their public health and sanitation.
Cities will be colour graded on the sustainable handling of their waste, and the comparable data on different cities will be put in public domain by April-May, Mr A.K. Mehta, Joint Secretary with the Union Ministry of Urban Development, told Business Line.
Data from the cities will be bench marked on their solid waste collection and disposal, storm-water management, prevalence of open defecation, among other things.
Those cities with a population of over one lakh, by the 2001 census, will be graded along the parameters of output, process and outcome — indicators laid out by the National Urban Sanitation Policy of 2008, he said.
The grading will show a city in poor light, if it has a red grade of less than 33 marks, indicating a public health and sanitation “emergency”. As a city’s sanitation environment improves, its grading moves up to black, then blue and at the top of the ladder is green, indicating a healthy and green city.
A good grading is an endorsement that the city is doing well and its systems work, and it could work as an indicator for investors evaluating locations to set up businesses, he agreed.
The programme is looking for a credible face to promote the better sanitation message, say public-health workers, some one like cricketing icon Sachin Tendulkar. Last month, Sachin batted for Brihan-Mumbai Municipal Corporation’s campaign to save water and in 2008, he was part of the United Nation’s Hand Washing campaign.
The Ministry has appointed AC Nielsen Development and Research Services and the Centre for Environment Planning Technology (CEPT) to undertake the grading of cities.
Expected to be a yearly exercise, an award is also to be given to the city that fares best in this public health exercise. But data tell a powerful story and apart from being a competitive exercise, cities can also learn from the insights different cities throw up, Mr Mehta added.
Responding to concerns that the sanitation data were provided by cities and their commissioners to the rating agencies, negating the independence of the assessment, Mr Mehta countered that the methodology was independent.
Samples would be taken from five public places and tested, he said, adding that authorities were best placed to identify these locations. Besides, getting municipal commissioners and others to participate also makes them own the entire process, he added.