Mumbai, Thiruvananthapuram top cities on governance, quality of life

New Delhi: Mumbai and Thiruvananthapuram have jointly been ranked on top among cities in terms of governance and quality of life that is sustainable in the long term, according to a survey released today.

Chandigarh and Jaipur, however, found their place at the bottom of the list of 21 cities covered under the survey which judged the governance performance on parameters like urban planning and design, capacities and resources (municipal finance and staffing, use of IT), and transparency and accountability, among others.

"The survey seeks to provide an objective basis on which to evaluate the quality of governance in our cities. The better a city scores in the survey, the more likely it is able to deliver better quality of life to citizens over the medium and long-term," non profit organisation Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy (JCCD) coordinator Srikanth Viswanathan said.

The 'Annual Survey of India's City-Systems' (ASICS) also revealed that Indian cities scored in the range of 2 to 4.2 on a scale of 10, as against global benchmarks of London and New York, which have scored 9.4 and 9.7, respectively.

In the score ranging from 0 to 10, Thiruvananthapuram and Mumbai scored 4.2, while Kolkata and Pune scored 4.1, Bhopal and Delhi 3.7, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kanpur 3.6, Jaipur 2.8 and Chandigarh 2.

The survey evaluated 21 major cities from 18 states. Highlighting "systemic inadequacies" in urban governance across cities, Viswanathan said these scores imply that these cities are grossly underprepared to deliver a high quality of life that is sustainable in the long term.

"This is particularly worrisome, given the rapid pace of urbanisation in India coupled with the huge backlog in public service delivery," he said.

The survey said there are 12 cities which have laws dating back to the 1960s-1980s and none of the laws reflect current and long-term demands of urbanization.

It said Delhi is the only city with Ward SDPs (Spatial Development Plans) and Chandigarh, despite being a "planned" city, neither has a contemporary Planning Act nor Metropolitan or ward level SDPs.

The survey said most cities do not generate enough revenue surplus to finance their capex requirements, and are hence heavily dependent on state and Central grants.

It said most corporations have huge vacancies severely impacting the quality of service delivery with Patna recording a 64 percentage shortage in staff, followed by Bangalore (52 pc) and Mumabi (21 pc).

On the stability of tenure of the (Municipal Corporation) Commissioner, Kolkata is the top scorer (2 in 5 yrs), followed by Bangalore and Jaipur (6 in 5 yrs), while Raipur (8 in 5 yrs) scored poorly.

The survey also observed that councillors lack resources to do their job effectively and are paid even less than Grade D employees.

It highlighted the case of Jaipur Municipal Corporation where the monthly compensation of a councillor is Rs 2,175, while that of a mayor is Rs 7,500, peon Rs 25,624, sweeper Rs 30,088, driver Rs 41,302, clerk Rs 53,534 and Commissioner Rs 1,04,114.

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