In a prestigious ceremony held at Bharat Mandapam, New Delhi, the President of India, Droupadi Murmu, conferred the Swachh Survekshan awards for 2023, hosted by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA). The event witnessed the recognition of 13 outstanding achievers across various categories, emphasising cleanliness and sustainable waste management.
Under the categories of Clean Cities, Cleanest Cantonment, SafaiMitra Suraksha, Ganga Towns, and Best Performing State, 13 awardees were honoured during the ceremony. Notably, the Cleanest City award saw joint winners, with the port city Surat sharing the top honours with Indore, the latter having held the solo spot for six consecutive years.
In the category of cities with a population of less than 1 lakh, Sasvad, Patan, and Lonavala secured the top three spots. Mhow Cantonment Board in Madhya Pradesh was recognised as the Cleanest Cantonment Board, while Varanasi and Prayagraj claimed the top two awards amongst the Cleanest Ganga Towns. Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh were honoured as the Best Performing States, and Chandigarh was awarded the title of the Best Safaimitra Surakshit Sheher. The ceremony saw the presentation of 110 awards.
During the ceremony, President Droupadi Murmu inaugurated the Swachh Survekshan 2023 dashboard. In her address, she emphasised the importance of collective efforts in achieving cleanliness goals. She praised the states, Urban Local Bodies (ULBs), and citizens for their dedication to the Swachh Survekshan initiative. The President highlighted the theme for 2023, "Waste to Wealth," calling for the creation of wealth from waste to promote overall cleanliness. She noted the commitment outlined in the G20 Leaders’ Delhi Declaration to enhance environmentally sound waste management and reduce waste generation substantially by 2030.
President Murmu commended the progress made in safeguarding SafaiMitra, ensuring their safety, dignity, and well-being. She emphasised the importance of the circular economy, noting that the second phase of the Swachh Bharat Mission incorporates circular waste management, promoting recycling and reusing items for sustainable development. President Murmu urged all citizens to be ambassadors of cleanliness and to spread awareness.
Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri lauded the success of the Swachh Bharat Mission, highlighting its transformation from a government program to a Jan Andolan (people's movement). He pointed out the significant increase in scientific processing of waste from 15-16 per cent in 2014 to nearly 76 per cent today, with a target of achieving 100 per cent in the next 2 to 3 years. Puri also credited the Swachh Survekshan for fostering competition among cities and instilling discipline in maintaining cleanliness.
Secretary of MoHUA, Manoj Joshi, highlighted the visible transformation in cleanliness over the past nine years. He stressed the need to clean up the remaining 10 per cent of the country and underscored the uniqueness of Swachh Survekshan 2023. This edition, aligned with SBM-U 2.0's objective, focused on the Waste to Wealth principle, promoting circularity in waste management.
The ceremony included an audio-visual presentation on the nine years of Swachh Bharat Mission, featuring the Ek Tareekh Ek Ghanta Ek Saath campaign. The event also marked the release of the Swachh Bharat Mission Anthem for 2024, sung by playback singer Kailash Kher.
Padmashri Sudarsan Pattnaik and his team captivated the audience with a live sand art creation, depicting the journey, milestones, and spirit of Swachh Bharat. The ceremony showcased colourful stalls by Self Help Group members selling products made from waste, along with an exhibition displaying the latest technologies and equipment in waste management.
The award ceremony served as a platform for cities and citizens to reaffirm their commitment to achieving garbage-free cities, fostering a spirit of determination and enthusiasm.