‘Swachh Rail - Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ to achieve ‘Clean India’

26 May 2018

Indian Railways (IR) is the third largest rail network with a total stretch of 66,000 covering more than 8000 stations. IR always put endeavor for maintain a clean and hygienic environment at Railway premises and trains which has been further intensified by ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’

Consequent to the launch of ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ on Oct 2, 2014 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Indian Railways had also launched ‘Swachh Rail Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ to achieve the vision of ‘Clean India’ by Oct 2 2019, which shall be the 150th Birthday of father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi.

In the Rail Budget presented in 2015, 2016 and 2017, series of measures to improve the cleanliness of stations were announced to take forward the momentum of ‘Swachh Rail Swachh Bharat’. One of the measures announced in Feb’2016 Budget is ranking of A1 and A category stations based on regular periodic third party audit and feedback from passengers, with a view to identifying unclean spots/gaps and to improve cleanliness standards and also to propel healthy competition among railway stations.  The same is being incorporated in trains.

In this direction of achieving cleaner Railways following steps were taken:

1.    Ministry of Railway (Environment and Housekeeping Management Directorate, Railway Board) commissioned a passenger feedback survey on cleanliness at major railway stations. The task of survey was entrusted to Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).

2.      First survey conducted by IRCTC in 2016 by conducting interviews of passengers at the stations on various parameters of cleanliness and rating them on this basis.

3.    The second survey has been conducted by Quality Council of India (QCI) with the help of their partner organizations  has conducted the survey of 407 major railway stations (75 A1 category and 332 A category stations) of Indian Railways. The survey report was submitted by the survey agency to Ministry of Railways for scrutiny and further action.

The parameters adopted for conducting the survey are: Evaluation of Process of cleanliness in Parking, main entry area, main platform, waiting room, (33.33%) direct observation by QCI assessors of cleanliness in these areas (33.33%) and passenger feedback (33.33%). A 24x7 control room was set up  and images were geo-tagged to monitor progress.

The survey was conducted through interviews with respondents on the questionnaire on cleanliness indicators, which was done face to face by survey teams by visiting each of the 407 stations across 16 Zonal Railways. Every passenger was asked to rate the cleanliness of stations objectively on 40 different cleanliness parameters.

Scientific Analysis of Station Cleanliness:

The next survey report for cleanliness is expected by QCI for stations in the month of July, 2018. The survey shall consist of:

1.      Process Evaluation Survey: The first part of the study involves assessment of processes related to cleanliness at the station. QCI assessors observed the frequency of various cleaning activities in the main consumer interface areas. The assessor was required to take multiple rounds of the following areas during the survey:
a)      Parking
b)      Main Entry
c)      Main Platform
d)     Waiting Room
In addition to observing cleaning activity frequency in the above areas, Process Evaluation also involved the assessors observing the condition of the uniform, protective gear and equipment used by the cleaning staff. The staff members were further inquired about their labour conditions, such as their monthly pay

2.      Direct Observation: To ensure a thorough inspection, the following areas were inspected at every station:
a)      Open Area
b)      Toilets
c)      Open Sitting Area
d)     Vendor Area
e)      Drinking Water Booths
f)       Waiting Room
g)      Railway Tracks
h)      Foot-over Bridge

The third part of assessment involved the QCI assessors inspecting the station premise for different form of wastes, such as letter, excreta, stain and stagnant water etc.

3.      Citizen Feedback: The final and the most important part of the assessment sought to collect feedback from the passengers at the station about the cleanliness condition. The passengers were asked questions related to level of cleanliness in the most common consumer interface areas of the station in terms of litter, stagnant water, presence of pests, etc. Ultimately they were asked to rate their overall experience based on the cleanliness and up keep of the station.

A third Party Survey cum Audit on Cleanliness of 210 important trains is currently being carried out. This work was entrusted to IRCTC who have engaged M/s IRCLASS for Audit / Survey and M/s IPSOS for Analysis and compilation of Report.

Total 475 rakes of these 210 trains are to be audited out of which audit of 386 rakes has been done. Such independent survey on cleanliness of important trains will be carried out every year and is expected to bring a sense of pride and competition among the zonal railways and maintenance depots. (EOIC)