ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Linking Expenditure with Service Delivery and Its Performance

Waste Management and Cleanliness in Cities

The paper compares solid waste management revenue expenditure of 27 cities with the performance outcomes on cleanliness as measured by the Swachh Survekshan survey. Nineteen out of 27 cities spend more than the benchmark, yet none have an expected perfect score. While spending has a significantly positive impact on cleanliness, it explains only 23% of the variation.


India is urbanising rapidly; the urban share of population has steadily increased from 18% in 1971 to about 34% in 2020. It is expected to touch 40% by 2030, thus amounting to approximately 600 million urban inhabitants. Increasing ­urbanisation is a systemic phenomenon observed globally, characterised by the workforce moving away from agriculture to non-agriculture jobs and people moving away from villages to cities in pursuit of better livelihoods. While urbanisation has followed the standard script, the same may not be true with respect to how much value India has derived from this rural–urban shift. The urban share of the net domestic product (NDP) was 38% in 1971, which grew steadily to 52% by 2000. However, from 2000 to 2012, the urban share of the NDP has ­remained constant at 52%. Since the urban population has inc­reased steadily from 2000 to 2011, the constant urban share of NDP implies that per capita urban NDP growth has been lower than per capita rural growth during this time period. This may be an indication that urban centres are not able to create enough high-productive jobs and/or not allowing existing inha­bitants to increase their productivity fast enough. It is noteworthy that increasing the share of urban NDP between 1971 and 2000 and stagnant share between 2000 and 2012 is accompanied by increasing the share of rural manufacturing, which steadily increased from 26% of the overall manufacturing in 1971 to 51% by 2012 (Chand et al 2017). It would be interesting to observe whether the urban share of NDP increases over time to around 60% by 2020 as estimated by multiple credible sources (Figure 1, p 55).

Low and deteriorating levels of basic civic services could be one of the reasons for lower productivity growth in urban areas compared to the countryside in the more recent years. As shown in Figure 2 (p 55), in an ideal scenario, 100% of the solid waste generated must be collected. For Indian cities, currently only 78% of the solid waste is collected. Poor service delivery is not only a problem pertaining to solid waste management (SWM). The acceptable level of water supply should be between 135 and 150 litres per capita per day in an urban setting; at present, Indian cities provide about 70 litres per capita per day (MoHUA 2019). This hampers their ability to create gainful employment for a large share of the population and provide services necessary for a dignified human life.

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Updated On : 18th Oct, 2021
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