Pune, Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram and Bhubaneswar have the best quality of governance among Indian cities in 2017, a study has found.
Highlights of the Study:
- The fifth edition of the Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems (ASICS) by Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy spans 23 Indian cities and factors in answers to 89 questions. The cities were scored based on the quality of laws, policies, institutions and institutional processes that together help govern them, according to the report.
- ASICS groups questions into four categories: urban planning & design; urban capacities & resources; transparency, accountability & participation; and empowered & legitimate political representation.
The report addresses five major issues, and suggests solutions at the local body, State and Central government levels.
- Indian cities, noted the report, have a weak urban planning framework, and the problem can be addressed by a well-made and executed spatial development plan — something which is difficult to do, considering there is only one urban planner in Indian cities for every 4 lakh citizens (This number is 48 in the U.S. and 148 in the U.K.).
- Another problem is stability of finances.
- On average, the cities assessed generated only 39% of the funds they spent, with several cities unable to even cover staff salaries.
- A third major issue is the lack of skilled staff and poor management of human resources.
- Fragmentation of governance and low levels of empowerment of mayors and councillors is another key roadblock to good governance, according to the report.
- One of the most important takeaways for citizens from the report is the absence of platforms where citizens can participate in civic matters in their neighbourhoods.
- This can be remedied by enacting public disclosure and community participation laws, adopting open data standards and ensuring transparency in finances and operations.