Pune, with a score of 5.1, has been ranked first, when it comes to local governance, followed by Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram, Bhubaneswar and Surat, according to the Annual Survey of India’s City-System (ASICS) undertaken for 2017 by non-profit organisation Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy (JCCD). Delhi, which ranked sixth among 23 Indian cities surveyed, improved its position this year, with a score of 4.4 out of 10 in the annual city governance rankings. The bottom five cities on the list were Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Patna and Chennai, with scores ranging between 3 and 3.3 out of 10.
The study evaluated the quality of governance, by analysing the functioning of urban local bodies in 23 major cities across 20 states. The cities scored between 3.0 and 5.1 on a scale of 10. The survey looked at governance in other countries, to explain where Indian metros stand, when compared with some mega cities elsewhere. Johannesburg in South Africa, London in the UK and New York in the US, scored 7.6, 8.8 and 8.8, respectively. The higher the ranking, better are the chances of cities delivering quality infrastructure and services in the long term, the report said.
“Indian cities are in a precarious situation. There is a marginal improvement, but the rate is slow, compared to the rate at which problems in the cities are growing,” JCCD’s CEO Srikanth Viswanathan said, while releasing the fifth edition of the survey. The report is based on a study of urban bodies and an analysis of laws, policies and RTI replies. “We are slow in responding to challenges. If we have aspirations of high economic growth, job creation and giving a better quality of life (to the people), we have to address these problems on a war-footing,” he said.
In the 2016 ranking, Delhi ranked ninth while Thiruvananthapuram topped the list, followed by Pune and Kolkata. An ASICS team member said Delhi’s score had improved, because of urban renewal projects under the central government schemes such as AMRUT and Smart City. The scores signal that Indian cities are ‘grossly under-prepared’, in delivering a high quality of life that is sustainable in the long term, said the report.
“The recurring floods, garbage crises, fire accidents, building collapses, air pollution and dengue outbreaks, are only symptoms of this deeper governance crisis in our cities,” the report said.
The rankings were based on four distinct but inter-related components – urban planning and design, urban capacities and resources, empowered and legitimate political representation and transparency, and accountability and participation. The ASICS report is designed to help city leaders pinpoint issues in urban governance in their cities and help them chalk out a reform road map to make them more livable, Viswanathan said. The study suggests remedial measures, such as focusing on city planning, finances and human resource management, transparency and a greater role of citizens in urban bodies.