Bengaluru, Chennai among worst cities in India, Delhi improves its position

Last year's topper Thiruvananthapuram pushed to 3rd spot in best city rankings

Bengaluru Bengaluru is the worst city when it comes to city governance in India | File

Do you think cities in south India are the best compared to those in other parts of the country? Think again. According to a recent survey, other cities have raced past south Indian state capitals in performance when it comes to quality of governance. 

Pune has unseated Kerala capital Thiruvananthapuram as the best governed city in the Annual Survey of India's City-System (ASICS) undertaken for 2017 by non-profit organisation Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy (JCCD).

Pune is the best city when it comes to local governance and Bengaluru the worst, says the study that 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.

Delhi, which ranked sixth among 23 Indian cities surveyed, improved its position this year from last year's ninth, with a score of 4.4 out of 10 in the annual city governance rankings. An ASICS team member said Delhi's score had improved because of urban renewal projects under Central government schemes such as AMRUT and Smart City.

Pune (5.1) ranked first, followed by Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram, Bhubaneswar and Surat. 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 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 CEO Srikanth Viswanathan said while releasing the fifth edition of the survey here.

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.

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, 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. 

(With inputs from PTI)