you would recommend to someone who wanted to take the saaf
aangan initiative for a small town in India?
For a small town, the Saaf
Aangan Rule has a greater chance of sucess for the following
- the town being physically small, its inhabitants will know
and appreciate each others' efforts. Word spreads fast of
initiatives taken by people and organisations to improve the
- there is a greater sense of belonging and community connect
in small towns (as compared to larger cities like Mumbai which
have a greater migrant or floating population, a great portion
of which do not feel that they belong there, and hence spit
and litter all over the place.)
- This sense of "ownership" and
"belonging" to the city is one of the intrinsic
features of Saaf Aangan.
- In a small town, one should start with the public buildings
first, that can set an example for the rest of the town; the
Town Hall, Schools, Colleges, etc. should first practice Saaf
Aangan - student volunteers can be roped in to actually sweep
the pavements, spread awareness, etc.
- Enforcement is also relatively easier in small towns, as
there is usually a better ratio of enforcing officials to the
population, unlike in Mumbai where there are completely skewed
numbers. for e.g.: 1 policeman for 40,000 people, and then the
Police takes on additional roles of protecting politicians,
film stars, Ganpati pandals and Navratri celebrations.
are the lessons you would share with such a person?
From those who have practised Saaf Aangan, in Mumbai, the
following lessons have emerged:
- The first step is always informing people about the Rule,
its objectives, and the fine for breaking the Rule. This step
is ususally poorly communicated to the public, and hence when
implementation begins, most people are unaware of the Rule.
- The right message about the Saaf Aangan Rule (or any Rule)
must be given to the public, that the Rule is meant for the
overall benefit of society and not to harass citizens.(current
perception of the helmet rule for 2-wheelers)
- The officials and staff of the enforcing agency (MCGM, or
Local Municipalities) must also be trained and made aware of
the Rules and how to implement them, how to deal with those
who break the rule, how to encourage people to participate,
etc. Ususally, there is a complete disconnect between the
officials at the top who issue orders to the Ward Officers (or
lower officials) to implement the Rule.
- The media must be used to highlight all aspects of the Rule,
both showing examples of success stories, and showing people
who have been caught and fined; this would act as a deterrant.
- It is critical that MCGM provides supporting services and
infrastructure to those who undertake Saaf Aangan; of regular
sweeping and pick-up of waste, community bins, Nuisance
Detectors, saplings for planting, water for cleaning, etc.
- The initial period of "familiarisation" of the
Rule will require greater efforts and inputs from both sides,
government and citizens; thereafter, once the "clean and
pleasant" environment has been establshed, it then
requires less efforts to sustain.
- Implementation should be done in phases, gradually expanding
as capability and awareness builds up. This was tried in
Mumbai, where 60 important roads (20 each in the City, Eastern
suburbs, and Western suburbs) were declared
"zero-tolerance zones" for litter, hawkers, etc.,
and on several roads, the results were clearly visible.
Unfortunately, MCGM did not sustain the momentum, and neither
has their cleanliness communication campaign been effectively
are the pitfalls and what are the positives which will make it
- Poor civic sense, hence a change in mindset is needed: There
is a perception amongst people that it is MCGMs job to keep
the city; especially since there are huge funds available, and
that the responsibilty of a citizen ends when he pays his
- Citizens and government need to come together as partners to
implement this Rule and achieve succes - present environment
is that citizens, media, etc are completely anti - MCGM. No
doubt, citizens need to monitor MCGMs performance, etc., but
continuous attacks from the side of people has made MCGM very
defensive, and in such a situation, MCGM rarely behaves in a
pro-active manner, and the Saaf Aangan rule requires both
sides to reach out and go the extra mile.
- "Chalta-hai" attitude needs to be overcome
- Saaf Aangan, when implemented, will ensure that sense of
ownership and belonging of people to the place where they
live, work, etc.
- People will invest a little bit of their time, energy and
efforts into their city, and this investment is as important
as investments of money and infrastructure.
- other problems will be spotted,
corrected, prevented e.g. leaking pipes, encroachments,