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How the New Swachhata App Helped a Citizen Get Rid of a Garbage Dump in His Area in Just a Few Hours

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As an Indian citizen, reporting a civic problem and getting it resolved can be a painful and laborious process. To overcome this limitation, the Ministry of Urban Development has launched a new Swachhata app for citizen assistance.

Is India really changing? A lot of people wonder about the answer to this question. Let me answer it with a beautiful example I’ve experienced recently.

What do we normally do if we encounter a garbage dump, or unclean road, or overflowing dustbins? We just close our nose, ignore the situation, and walk away, as nothing can be done as an individual.

But in the recent past, a new mobile application (called the Swachhata app) launched by the Ministry of Urban Development of the Government of India enables a citizen to post any civic-related issue. Citizens can download the mobile application and use it to file complaints. The citizens only need to take a picture of the complaint they see on the ground and post it through this app. The complaint automatically gets forwarded to the municipal corporation for action, and the matter is assigned to the concerned sanitary inspector.

To test this application, I posted a picture of a garbage dump near my residency on it (as shown below). About 30 minutes later, I received a call from someone from the corporation. He wanted to confirm whether I was the complainant.

On confirmation, he said that the work would be completed soon.

I was pretty surprised! I had not expected such a fast response. But still I was sceptical about whether the garbage would be cleaned or not. About 3-4 hours later, I decided to inspect the place, and found a few workers in action (as shown below).

The corporation told me that it was a private property, and it was the builder’s responsibility to maintain the cleanliness of the premises. They assured me that they would penalise the builder (screenshot below).

The mobile application is very user-friendly. Once you download it, you can register on it in a 2-step process as shown below.

The process flow to register a complaint is simple. All you must do is take a picture of the issue. Upload it to the app and select an appropriate category, such as garbage dump, garbage vehicle not arrived, etc.

Also mention the location and landmark of the incident as shown below.

After registering the complaint, you will get regular updates on its status in the form of a push notification. After completion, the sanitary inspector changes the status to “resolved”. You can reopen the complaint if the response does not satisfy you.

The authorities must address the complaints in strict SLAs. For example, they address issues such as garbage dumps and overflowing dustbins in 12 hours.

So, I hope you now know what to do the next time you encounter such civic-related issues. Do educate your friends and family about this application, and ask them to download and use it for the greater good.

About the author: Varun Gampa is an alumnus of IIM Trichy and is currently a management trainee with Hansa Cequity, Mumbai.

The Swachhata mobile application is available for Android and iOS devices.

Featured Image Source: By Victorgrigas (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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