Pune has aced while Delhi came sixth in terms of quality of governance, a 23-city survey conducted by urban research group Janaagraha has found. The Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems (ASICS), 2017, which was released on Wednesday, ranked 23 cities across India on terms of governance on the basis of four indicators: urban planning, resources, political representation, and transparency and participation.
Twenty-two Indian cities scored below five, on a scale of 10, with just Pune limping ahead at 5.1 followed by Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram and Bhubaneswar at 4.6 and Surat at 4.5. The tailenders, according to the survey, are Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Patna and Chennai, scoring between 3 and 3.3 on the same scale. Thiruvananthapuram had topped the survey last year. The survey reveals that over the past three years, a period when the NDA government launched several flagship urban missions – Smart Cities, Swachh Bharat, AMRUT and Housing for All – the scores had jumped from 3.4 to merely 3.9.
Surat showed maximum improvement since last year, jumping 12 notches to clinch the fifth spot this year. The survey uses as a benchmark the scores assigned to of international cities using similar methodology. New York and London score 8.8, while Johannesburg from a developing country scores 7.6 on a similar scale. “Scores of benchmark cities indicate how far our city-systems need to be strengthened before we can expect our cities to deliver good quality of life,” the survey report states.
Janaagraha CEO Srikanth Viswanathan told The Indian Express that the scores of international cities are based on the same parameters as those laid out for Indian cities or its equivalent, for instance instead of RTI, the implementation of public disclosure laws are examined globally.
“The parameters show the capability of cities to build infrastructure and deliver services. The study points to five immediate reforms that cities have to undertake. These include the need for spatial plans and design standards for all public utilities and fiscal decentralisation involving devolution of all taxes, including GST to the municipalities. Municipalities are also hugely understaffed, including in several critical positions…They need to have more empowered mayors and elected representations, and improve their citizen participation through ward and area sabhas,” said Viswanathan.