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Kerala’s Capital Thiruvananthapuram Ranks Best City in Urban Governance Survey

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According to the fourth edition of the Annual Survey of India’s City Systems 2016 by Bengaluru-based advocacy group Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala has been ranked as the top Indian city to manage urban governance.

  • Thiruvananthapuram which also ranked No. 1 in 2015 was evaluated against 21 major cities across 18 states of India.

Top 5 Cities in the List

Rank City Score
1 Thiruvananthapuram 4.4
2 Pune 4.2
3 Kolkata 4.1
4 Mumbai 4.1
5 Hyderabad 3.9

Major Highlight of the Report

Pune and Kolkata was ranked the second and third best city respectively that were tested on various urban governance parameters.

  • Delhi which ranked 7 in 2015 dropped two places to rank 9 in 2016. The city was placed even behind much smaller cities like Bhopal and Kanpur which ranked 6 and 7 respectively.
  • Though Delhi topped the chart in the urban planning and design category with a score of 3.7, it scored poorly on three aspects of urban governance which were urban capacities and resources of municipalities to undertake reform; empowered and legitimate political representation; transparency, accountability and participation.Kerala’s Capital Thiruvananthapuram Ranks Best City in Urban Governance Survey
  • Similarly, Mumbai’s rank slipped from 2 to 4 and Bengaluru also came down to 16 from 12.
  • Chandigarh, perceived and Jaipur were placed among the bottom of the list.
  • The survey stated that at an average, the 21 cities generate only 37 percent of the amount which they spend from their own revenue.
  • Patna generated just 17 percent of its spending. Among the listed cities, only Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Pune generate over 50% of the amount they spend.
  • As per the report, Mumbai and Ahmedabad with a score of 4.4 topped the list of cities that have invested adequate funds in public infrastructure and services.
  • Jaipur ranked 20 and Chandigarh came 21 on the list but these cities are considered better to live than other cities like Ranchi which ranked 13, and Patna, which ranked 11 on the list.
  • Irrespective of the rankings, none of the Indian cities match up to London and New York, which top the global benchmarks.
  • All the 21 cities scored between 2.1 and 4.4 out of 10 on all the indicators as against 9.4 and 9.7 scored by the two global cities London and New York.
  • This signifies that Indian cities are highly under-prepared in terms of delivering a high quality of life.
  • The survey also pointed out that none of the Indian cities have effective policies to deal with plan violations. All the 21 cities scored zero on this parameter as compared to 9.1 to 10 for London and New York.
  • It recommends amending the planning laws, constituting a metropolitan planning committee headed by municipal elected representatives for formulating city’s metropolitan plan among others to address the deficiencies in city planning.

Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems (ASICS)

Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems (ASICS) is India’s only independent benchmarking of cities using a systemic framework.

  • It evaluates India’s city-systems based on complex, mostly-invisible factors that strongly influence the quality of life in India’s cities. Further, it benchmarks city-systems against global counterparts.
  • The survey looks at 83 governance parameters including laws related to city administration, taxation, local governance models, political participation of citizens, and financial capacity of cities among others.
  • The better a city scores in the ASICS survey the more likely is that it will be able to deliver better quality of life to citizens over the medium and long-term.
  • According to the survey, low scores imply that Indian cities need to strengthen their city-systems i.e. quality of laws, policies and institutions significantly to improve service delivery for a high quality of life to citizens.