UPSC Exam Preparation: Topic of the Day – Annual Survey Of India’s City-Systems
Annual Survey Of India’s City-Systems is an annual study that evaluates the City-Systems which comprises of mainly four interrelated aspects- urban planning and design, urban capacities and resources, transparency, accountability & participation, and empowered and legitimate political representation. It is released by Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy, evaluating the governance in cities. The result indicates the health of the governance system and its ability to deliver good quality of life and aims to push towards transformative reforms in city governance.
- The ASICS, 2017 uses 150 parameters to judge 23 cities.
- ASICS is a health diagnostic of our cities; the better a city scores, the better it stands to provide its citizens a high quality of life in the medium to long-term.
- ASICS, 2017 is the fifth edition.
Findings of Report
- With a score of 5.1, Pune (score 5.1) topped the survey while Bengaluru scored lowest in the list.
- While the cities such as New York, London and Johannesburg (global benchmarks) have scored 8.8, 8.8 and 7.6 respectively, Indian cities have barely touched a score of 5.1 (being the highest).
Problems Highlighted by the Report
- The increase in the score of some of the cities over the past 3 years is attributed to several flagship missions in the urban areas, such as Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), Swachh Bharat Mission, Smart City Mission, and Housing for All (Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana).
- Only two out of the twenty-three cities have in place, ward committees and area Sabhas at least on paper, throwing light on the lack of democracy.
- At the urban body level, most of the cities are neither adequately staffed nor financially well-off.
- Citizen’s charter exists in only 9 of the 23 cities. Even in those cities where such a charter exists, there is no mention of mechanisms for redressal when the service quality is not met, service delivery timelines and service levels.
- Only three cities, Thiruvananthapuram, Bhubaneswar and Ranchi have an ombudsman in place, particularly to resolve citizen’s issues.
- Basic data about the functioning, in usable formats, was not released in nineteen out of the twenty-three cities.
- Town and country acts that were drafted many years prior to the liberalisation of the economy are being used by most of the Indian cities. This lack of contemporary and modern urban planning structure and framework is believed to have been costing India, about 3% of its GDP each year.
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