Of Civic Administration....

Mumbai topped the list among 21 big Indian cities in a survey that assessed the capability of city administrations to deliver better quality of life over the medium and long term. While the maximum city moved up eight places from last year, Thiruvananthapuram retained the second position. Delhi's rank slipped to sixth position from five in 2014 while Bhubaneswar, which ranked number one in the smart cities contest recently, came 18th in the list.
“Almost all cities in India do very badly . The fact that Mumbai did well is nothing is nothing to crow about as it's compared to other Indian cities which have fared even worse,“ said Anil Nair at the NGO Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy that conducted the survey. The Annual Survey of India's City-Systems (ASICS) was conducted by Bengaluru-based NGO Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy along with Jana Urban Space Foundation and IDFC Foundation in 18 states.
According to the report, all the 21 Indian cities continue to score in the range of two to 4.2 on a scale of zero to10 while London and New York have scored 9.4 and 9.7, respectively . This indicates the need to push major reforms in municipal governance as pressure increases on major urban centres. In fact, one of the few planned cities--Chandigarh--has the dubious distinction of being at the bottom for the second time in this report.
Cities that have made major improvement include Hyderabad, which has moved up from 17 to nine within a span of one year and Kanpur, which ranked at 14 in 2014, moved six spots last year. Similarly , Chennai made remarkable improvement while Raipur and Surat slipped significantly in the list.
“The reason that Mumbai and Pune [taking 4th place] have done well is because Maharashtra has recently passed an act guaranteeing citizen services, which helped its scores. They also did well on its ability to raise finances. These cities do a better job of collecting revenues which are owed to them. At the commissioners level, there is more stability in Mumbai because these officials stay for about 2-3 years, which is good for long-term planning,“ explained Nair about the factors leading to Mumbai's precedence.
Many were surprised by these results, as Mumbai is hardly known for its effective governance. “This just goes to show how poorly the rest of cities in India have fared,“ said Nayana Kathpalia, a trustee of citizens' group, NAGAR.
The survey asked over 80 questions spanning four broad components, namely , Urban Planning and Design, Urban Capacities and Resources, Empowered and Legitimate Political Representation, and Transparency , Accountability and Participation. “Actually over the last two years, I was surprised to find that Mumbai was not on top, because Mumbai has better city governance when compared to other Indian cities. It's definitely the best of the worst,“ said Milind Mhaske of NGO Praja Foundation.

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