Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh have have been declared as the top two states with the most number of clean cities — 12 and 11, respectively — in India's top 50 clean cities, according to Swachh Survekshan 2017, an annual survey aimed at capturing the outcomes on ground of the ongoing efforts to make urban areas open defecation free and to improve door-to-door collection, processing and disposal of municipal solid waste.
Indore in Madhya Pradesh was ranked India's cleanest city among 434 cities and towns, representing 60 percent of the country's urban population.
The cities and towns were judged on their performance based on making habitations open defecation-free and solid waste management, citizen feedback and independent observations.
The other top-10 clean cities in order were Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh), Surat (Gujarat), Mysuru (Karnataka) — ranked the cleanest city last year — Tiruchirapally (Tamil Nadu), New Delhi Municipal Council (Delhi), Navi Mumbai (Maharashtra), Vadodara (Gujarat) and Chandigarh.
Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, followed by Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, were described as "movers and shakers" by urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu for significantly improved rankings from the survey conducted in 2014 before the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission in October 2014.
All cities surveyed in Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand had substantially improved their rankings over that of 2016 and 2014, Naidu said. Indore and Bhopal moved from 25th and 21st position last year to first and second this year.
Twenty-five towns in Uttar Pradesh were ranked among the bottom 50 cities, followed by Rajasthan and Punjab with five each, Maharashtra with two, and one each from Haryana, Karnataka and Lakshadweep.
Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh improved its rank from 418 in 2014 to 32 this year, to become the 'Fastest Big City Mover' in the north zone.
UP, Bihar, Rajasthan, Punjab and Kerala need to step up efforts to improve sanitation standards in urban areas, Naidu said.
Ten towns that came at the bottom of the 434 surveyed are: Gonda (Uttar Pradesh), Bhusawal (Maharashtra), Bagaha (Bihar), Hardoi (Uttar Pradesh), Katihar (Bihar), Bahraich (Uttar Pradesh), Muktsar (Punjab) and Khurja (UP).