Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban 2.0 (SBM-U 2.0), under the aegis of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), has launched the Swachh Technology Challenge.
The Challenge seeks to harness the entrepreneurial potential of the waste management sector in India and promote an enabling environment for enterprise development under Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban 2.0. There is a need for identifying indigenous, cost effective technologies that are easy to replicate and scale-up, and can be put to use by ULBs to implement various components of SBM-U 2.0 on the ground.
Over the years, SBM-U has been encouraging innovations and best practices particularly through Swachh Survekshan, the annual cleanliness survey conducted by MoHUA. This trend has been rising over the years with over 4,000 innovations and best practices having been identified since 2018.
Swachh Technology Challenge, scheduled to run from 6th December 2021 to 15th January 2021, will particularly seek solutions in four thematic categories, viz.(i) social inclusion, (ii) zero dump (solid waste management), (iii) plastic waste management and (iv) transparency through digital enablement.
Designed as a sub-component of the ‘Citizen Engagement’ component under Swachh Survekshan 2022, the Challenge endeavours to invite solutions not just from start-ups but also individual entrepreneurs, educational institutions, local businesses, research and development organisations, NGOs, and other citizen groups to help city administration efficiently manage Mission operations.
The active participation of cities in the Challenge will have a direct bearing on their performance in the ‘Citizen Engagement’ component of Swachh Survekshan 2022 and thus their overall ranking in the survey.
The top three solutions in each of the four thematic categories from across the country will be felicitated at the Swachh Survekshan award ceremony hosted by MoHUA. As an additional incentive, top three state level solutions will be rewarded with a cash prize by respective State governments.
To further incentivize the start-up ecosystem, MoHUA will also launch a Swachhata Start-Up Challenge as an extension to the Swachh Technology Challenge in January 2022.
Winning solutions from start-ups under Swachh Technology Challenge will be eligible to participate in the Swachhata Start-Up Challenge to be run in collaboration with AgenceFrançaise de Développement (AFD). Winning entries under the Challenge will be rewarded with seed funding of ₹25 lakhs per project along with one year of dedicated incubation support from French Tech, the French government’s initiative to promote start-ups.