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Thiruvananthapuram, Pune and Kolkata emerge as best governed cities

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The biggest gainer this year has been Bhubaneswar, which jumped eight ranks to the 10th spot, thanks to a slew of urban reforms initiated by the city.
NEW DELHI: Thiruvananthapuram, Pune and Kolkata have emerged as the top three cities in an annual survey of governance systems. The biggest gainer this year has been Bhubaneswar, which jumped eight ranks to the 10th spot, thanks to a slew of urban reforms initiated by the city.

The Annual Survey of India’s City Systems (ASICS) 2016, which examines city systems on the basis of 83 governance parameters, reveals that Indian cities fare very poorly compared to global benchmarks. The survey is conducted by Bengaluru-based non-governmental organisation Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy.

Indian cities scored between 2.1 and 4.4 on a scale of 10, compared to London and New York, which scored 9.3 and 9.8 respectively. The low scores, as per the survey, imply that Indian cities need to strengthen their city systems including quality of laws, policies and institutions to improve service delivery and thereby deliver a high quality of life to citizens.

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While Thiruvananthapuram and Kolkata have retained the positions they claimed in the 2015 survey, Bhubaneswar has jumped eight ranks on the back of a slew of reforms such as instituting municipal cadres, tiered spatial planning including ward level plans and instituting a single-window clearance process for development projects that are in conformity with plans.

Bengaluru has dropped four places to rank 16 due to better performance by smaller cities. Jaipur improved its scores because of the Rajasthan Urban Land (Certification of Titles) Bill that enabled better urban land utilisation. Chennai, however, slipped due to Tamil Nadu’s legislation to elect mayors through indirect elections.

Releasing the annual rankings of cities, Srikanth Viswanathan, CEO of Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy said, “ASICS aims to serve as an annual health check-up of the quality of laws, policies, institutions and institutional process underlying quality of life in our cities. It aims to push the envelope on city governance reforms in India through data and insights.”

He said the survey can provide the common frame of reference for political and administrative leaders, business and academia, media and civil society, in different cities to converge on their agenda for transformative reforms in their respective cities.
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