The Adar Poonawalla Clean City Initiative the first such initiative for a major city in India between a corporate and the city municipal authority has some important lessons for other cities and corporates. The tie-up between the Pune Municipal Corporation and Serum Institute of India has made a visible difference to the city and hopes to be a model for waste management in the coming months and years.
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If one had to really pinpoint the reasons for success, it would have to be these 4.
One, that the corporate behind it, the Serum Institute of India, besides its key promoter, Adar Poonawalla himself, have the credibility that is so needed in these initiatives. People, usually skeptical of corporate approaches that end up being photo ops and nothing more, believe in this one, thanks to the SII’s long history of quality work, in India and globally. By pledging his personal funds too, to the initiative, the Rs 100 crore funding the project started off with is seen as more than adequate to meet key objectives. Having a professional CEO at the help, Krishnan Komandur, with his own 20 years of experience in waste management, is a definite plus, of course.
Partnering with the local Municipal body. The initiative has the full backing of the local body, itself with an annual budget of over Rs 5800 crores to be spent on multiple requirements. By ‘segregating’ its own responsibilities from the local body very clearly, in this case, a focus on secondary waste collection, the initiative could work unhindered, and show visible results early, a critical success factor in any waste management project.
Local involvement. The initiative focused on local involvement, with its own app to report garbage that will be removed and a message sent to the reporter. Besides this, an ever-growing band of volunteers ensures that awareness about the initiative spreads without major media spends, making the whole exercise more effective.
Use of Technology. Lack of modern tools and equipment has been the bane of waste management in India. Be it a funds crunch, or poor maintainance of machines were procured by government agencies, the story is a tragedy of waste and pilferage. The Delhi experience with the equipment so proudly showcased during the Commonwealth Games in 2010 is but one example. In this case, thanks to ‘private’ ownership, not only is the modern equipment brought for the purpose of working well, it is ‘seen’ to be working well by the local populace.
As Pune builds on this great initiative, the big challenge will remain behaviour change among users, something that Krishnan Momandur, CEO of the Initiative, realises. Here’s wishing them luck for the future, and of course, the spread of the model to more and more Indian cities.