Sanitation Capacity Building Platform (SCBP) at National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) is organizing a “Urban Sanitation Photostory Competition” to raise awareness around India’s urban sanitation scenario and its importance for urban development in the youth of India.

We invite participants to submit photograph(s) along with an abstract which is either focusing on the impacts of sanitation practices on climate change, innovative practices for achieving circular economy in sanitation or gender sensitive and inclusive sanitation by individuals, communities or city authorities. To participate in the competition, photo-stories should be submitted in any of the following three themes:

Theme 1

Sanitation and climate change

Theme 2

Innovative practices for achieving circular economy in sanitation

Theme 3

Inclusive sanitation

Why sanitation?

Cities are engines of economic growth and social development. Good infrastructure and reliable service provision are amongst the key aspects of sustainable urban development. Sanitation is a vital component of municipal services provided to citizens to maintain safe, healthy, and hygienic living conditions. It can be defined as a multi-step process in which human excreta is managed from the point of generation to the point of use or ultimate disposal/recycle reuse with minimal human intervention.

Through the competition, we aim to initiate a dialogue amongst the youth of India on the importance of mainstreaming urban sanitation management for achieving the targets under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030.

Who can participate?

Category 1: Students from class 9th to class 12th

Category 2: Students pursuing graduation and post-graduation (Age upto 25 years)

Selection criteria

The selection of photo-stories will focus on the following criteria:

Content: How relevant the content is to the theme. Does the content show something unique about sanitation? How well has the participant been able to identify the subject of the photograph(s) as per the theme?

Composition: How well has the photo(s) been composed or framed? Does the composition adequately present the theme/subject or the content?

Technique: How well does the photo(s) represent the photography technique? Lighting? Post- production? How well written is the abstract? Is it easy to understand? Is it conveying what the photograph(s) is trying to depict?

To participate

  • Send upto 5 photograph(s) along with an abstract not exceeding 100 words (in English).
  • There should not be any watermarks on the picture.

To Submit

If you are up for the challenge of documenting sanitation, you can submit your photostory until the 17th June 2022 by filling in the details in the google form. Along with the photo- stories, participants have to upload a copy of their student ID card. Entries which are missing any of these would be disqualified.

For any queries, please contact: Ms. Umra Anees, Program Officer, SCBP-NIUA at uanees@niua.org

Important dates

Last date of submission

17th June 2022
at 11:59 pm

Result declaration

15th July 2022

Award distribution and exhibition

29th July 2022


Category 1:

  • Winners:

    a) ₹10,000/- and certificate (for each theme)

    b) Award winning photo-stories will be considered for publication in NIUAs magazine (eGov)

  • 1st Runners-up : ₹7,000/- and certificate (for each theme)
  • 2nd Runners-up: ₹5,000/- and certificate (for each theme)
  • All the award winning photo-stories and selected nominations will be exhibited at India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road.

Category 2:

  • Winners:

    a) ₹25,000/- and certificate (for each theme)

    b) Award winning photo-stories will be considered for publication in NIUAs magazine (eGov)

  • 1st Runners-up: ₹15,000/- and certificate (for each theme)
  • 2nd Runners-up: ₹10,000/- and certificate (for each theme)
  • All the award winning photo-stories and selected nominations will be exhibited at India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road.

Competition rules

  • The number of entries per thematic area is limited to one per person under each category.
  • Participation is open to individuals only (amateurs and professionals)
  • The photograph(s) should be from Indian cities only.
  • Before submission, plagiarism check should be done on the abstract. If found that the text has been copied, the entry will be immediately disqualified.
  • The prize money will be transferred to Indian bank accounts only.
  • Each entry should be in jpeg or png format with at least 8 X 12 inches at 300 DPI (dots per inches) minimum size.
  • The file size of the submission should not exceed 30 MB.
  • The entries will be evaluated by an eminent panel of sector experts and photographers, story-writers/story-tellers.
  • The photo-stories should not hurt the sentiments of any person's/community's beliefs in any manner.

Within the framework of digital image editing, the following is PERMITTED:

  • Moderate adjustments of contrast, tonal values, gradation, white balance, colour, and saturation
  • Moderate use of the shadow/highlight tool, dodging/burning and digital graduated grey filters
  • HDR images, stitched panoramas and images using focus stacking as well as in- camera multiple exposures (for all these techniques the requirement is that all images were taken at the same location at approximately the same time. With multiple exposures this means that the viewer should not be misled by the combination of two or more images).
  • Removal of chromatic aberrations and vignetting as well as lens distortions
  • Black & white and infrared rendering (incl. filter and tonal adjustments)

Within the framework of digital image editing, the following is NOT PERMITTED:

  • Adding or removing objects (e.g animals, plants, people, items of civilisation and traces thereof)

Final Clause and Copyright

  • The jury’s decision will be final. By submitting images and stories to the competition the participant consents to the above competition rules and refrain from any legal proceedings.
  • By entering the competition, the participant confirms that the entered photograph(s) and the abstract is his/her original work and the participant is the sole owner of the copyright and there are no third-party claims.
  • The participant shall confirm that entries submitted for this competition can be used by the MoHUA and NIUA for any of their official publications with due acknowledgment.

Selection Panel

Mr. S. Vishwanath, Director, Biome Environmental Solutions
Vishwanath is a Civil Engineer and an Urban Planner having 34 years of experience in the water, wastewater and sanitation sector. He is a Trustee with the Biome Environmental Trust, alongwith being the Director at Biome Environmental Solutions. 
He is a member of the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance(susana) and the International Water Association(IWA). He has been an Advisor at Arghyam, India Water Portal and a member of various expert committees which helped formulate the rainwater harvesting policy and law for Bengaluru, the wastewater policy for Karnataka and the water policy for Karnataka.
In addition, he is an adjunct professor and teaches a course on the theme – “Water”  at the Azim Premji University, Bengaluru, India. He wrote a weekly column called waterwise for  12 years for  ‘The Hindu’.
He was a senior projects appraisal officer at the Housing and Urban Development Corporation Ltd. for 14 years and was a part of the team which assisted WHO in the development of the sanitation safety planning document.

Mrs. Kavita Wankhade, Associate Dean- School of Systems and Infrastructure and Head- Practice (Governance and Services), Indian Institute for Human Settlements
Kavita Wankhade works at the Indian Institute of Human Settlements (IIHS), a national education institution committed to the equitable, sustainable, and efficient transformation of Indian settlements. With training in urban design and planning, she has worked in multiple cities in India, with a focus on service delivery. She has been a part of the founding team of IIHS since its inception in 2009. As Head-Practice at IIHS for governance and services, her role consists of expanding and strengthening the practice programme to fulfill the institution’s commitment to the equitable, sustainable, and efficient transformation of Indian settlements.
In recent years, her work has focussed on sanitation. The key programmes under this include the Tamil Nadu Urban Sanitation Support Programme (TNUSSP) which is supporting the Government of Tamil Nadu to scale up FSM across the 664 urban local bodies of the state- and City-Wide Inclusive Sanitation (CWIS) programme at Trichy, focussing on FSM and inclusive sanitation service delivery for all. She is a strong advocate of inclusive planning with a focus on sanitation workers and women in sanitation. She has an overarching endeavour to be interdisciplinary, contextual, and systemic in her practice work, and in bridging the practice-research divide.

Mr. Tamseel Hussain, CEO, People Like Us Create

Tamseel Hussain is the Founder and CEO of Pluc.TV - a start-to-finish creator economy platform, which hosts award-winning shows and episodes.
He uses storytelling and technology for creating immersive virtual narratives and is building solutions to enable more people to enter the creator economy. Tamseel has previously worked with global tech companies and nonprofits.
You can also find his writing and interviews on the latest creator economy trends in publications like TechCircle, LSN Global, CXO Outlook, Media Brief. His stories have also featured in CNN International, The Guardian, Channel News Asia and National Geographic.

Mr. Arnab Pratim Dutta, Senior Editor, Down To Earth

Arnab Pratim Dutta’s career as a journalist has spanned over 22 years of working with many mainstream publications. He has spent the last 15 years as a senior editor with Down to Earth, which is published by the New Delhi based think tank Centre for Science and Environment. During his tenure with CSE has produced over 1000 videos on environment and sustainable development focusing on climate change, water and sanitation, river cleaning and urban solid waste management. His latest production is a 9 part series called The Cleanest Cities of India based on solid waste management practices from across India. This series is based on a joint report by the Niti Aayog and the Centre for Science and Environment.