CHANDIGARH, A planned city, ranked second last in a survey conducted to evaluate the quality of urban governance in 23 cities of the country.
The fifth edition of the Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems (ASICS) was carried out by Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy (Janaagraha). Its report, which was released in Delhi on Wednesday, ranked City Beautiful 22 with an average score of 3.1 marks. The first position was clinched by Pune. Other cities that made it to the top five were Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram, Bhubaneswar and Surat. In comparison, the global benchmarks of Johannesburg, London and New York are 7.6, 8.8 and 8.8, respectively.
Though Chandigarh improved by one position as it had ranked last among 21 cities last year, the evaluators believed that the city was underprepared to deliver high-quality infrastructure in the long term.
The key findings of the report, a copy of which is with Chandigarh Newsline, stated that a decline in city’s own revenue generation, lack of city sanitation plan and land titling law, AMRUT reforms on providing internship opportunities not undertaken and lack of autonomy for Chandigarh Municipal Corporation in the budget-approval process led to Chandigarh appearing in the bottom five.
“The percentage of own revenue to total expenditure, on an average over three years, is just 21.3 per cent, one among the lowest. It does not perform well on AMRUT reforms such as providing internship opportunities, credit rating and publishing e-newsletters and demand collection book,” stated the report.
The only silver lining was that the city performed well on citywide initiatives on mobility, resilience and green building incentives. “Chandigarh showed improvement in the total per capita capex with an average of Rs 2,340.42 in the last three years. But, it is lower compared to Thiruvananthapuram (Rs 4,094.24 cr) and Pune (Rs. 4,357.23 crore),” the report revealed.
Anil Nair, deputy head of advocay and reforms at Janaagraha, said, “ASICS does not measure the quality of infrastructure and services such as roads and traffic, garbage, water, housing, sanitation and air pollution. Instead, it measures the preparedness of cities to deliver high-quality infrastructure and services in the long-term by evaluating “city-systems” of spatial planning and design standards, municipal finance, municipal staffing, political leadership at the city level and transparency and citizen participation.”
It was stated that scores in the range of 3 to 5.1, with 12 out of 23 cities below 4 on 10, strongly signal that Indian cities are grossly underprepared to deliver a high quality of life that is sustainable in the long run.
City lacks number of qualities
Lack of a modern, contemporary framework of spatial planning, weak finances, both in terms of financial sustainability and accountability, poor human resource management, in terms of number of staff, skills and their competence, powerless mayors and city councils and total absence of platforms for systematic citizen participation and lack of transparency in finances and operations of cities.