In January, 2018, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) launched the Protocol for Star Rating of Garbage Free cities in order to institutionalize a mechanism for cities to achieve Garbage Free status, and to motivate the cities to achieve higher degrees of cleanliness. The star rating protocol is defined for Garbage Free cities, which builds on aspirations of cities to progress towards higher standards of “Swachhata”. The protocol has been designed in a way as to enable cities to gradually evolve into a model (7-star) city, with progressive improvements in their overall cleanliness. The protocol, with increasing levels of stringency is also aspirational in nature, feeding cities’ ambitions and dreams of becoming an ideal city for its residents, and a role model for other cities to follow. In March 2019, 3 cities (Indore, Ambikapur, and Mysuru) were certified as 5-star cities, and 53 cities were certified as 3-star cities.
On 28th June 2019, the Ministry issued the modified protocol. The modified ‘Star Rating Protocol for Garbage Free Cities 2019’ evaluates cities on the graded score for 25 components as per the progress achieved by the cities. The protocol has been designed to both help cities assess their progress while encouraging them to move towards a better rating thereby improving their cities’ overall cleanliness and aesthetics. The Star Rating is supported by a robust verification mechanism to ensure transparency and standardisation. Cities are required to carry out self-assessment and self-verification for achieving a certain star rating. This self-declaration is to be further verified through an independent third-party agency appointed by MoHUA for 1-star, 3-star, 5-star and 7-star garbage free ratings.
To ensure that the star rating is aligned with the vision of making SBM a Jan Andolan, citizen groups must be involved through the system of self-declaration. With a vision to make all statutory towns/Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) achieve “Garbage Free” status wherein at any point of time in the day, no garbage or litter is found in any public, commercial or residential locations (including storm drains and water bodies) in the city (except in litter bins or transfer stations), 100% of waste generated is scientifically managed, all legacy waste has been remediated and scientifically managing its municipal solid waste, plastic waste and construction & demolition waste. Additionally, there must be a steady reduction in the waste generated by the city and visible beautification of the city to achieve a clean & aesthetically pleasing city.
In October 2019, Navi Mumbai was certified as 5-Star and 14 cities were certified as 3-Star as per the modified protocol.