Bengaluru hits rock bottom in Janaagraha annual survey of India’s city-systems

Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy (Janaagraha), a Bengaluru-based non-profit released its 5th edition of its Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems (ASICS) report yesterday. It ranked 23 Indian cities based on 89 questions [pdf]. The survey evaluates the quality of governance in cities by assessing the quality of laws, policies, institutions and institutional processes that together help govern them.

The NGO, in its press release [pdf] said (emphasis added) :

ASICS does not measure quality of infrastructure and services such as roads and traffic, garbage, water, housing, sanitation and air pollution, but instead measures the preparedness of cities to deliver high quality infrastructure and services in the long-term by evaluating “city—systems” of spatial planning and design standards, municipal finance, municipal staffing, political leadership at the city level and transparency and citizen participation“ said Anil Nair, Deputy Head, Advocacy and Reforms at Janaagraha.

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Scores in the range of 3 to 5.1, with 12 out of 23 cities below 4 on 10, strongly signals that Indian cities are grossly under-prepared to deliver a high quality of life that is sustainable in the long term. 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. 

While Pune grabbed the top spot, Bengaluru, which is considered one of the top cities of India has hit the rock bottom. The Congress government in Karnataka has been patting itself over its achievement in developing Bengaluru.

However, this report demonstrates that the claim is hollow. The city-specific report [ pdf ] suggests that Bengaluru does not have a sanitation plan and comprehensive mobility plan. Bengaluru scores low in all 4 parameters i.e. urban planning and design (UPD); transparency, accountability and participation (TAP); Empowered & Legitimate Political
Representation (ELPR); Urban Capacities & Resources (UCR).

Bengaluru scores

The mayor of city body BBMP who also hails from the Congress party has failed to improve governance in the city. The scores of all 23 cities on a scale of 0-10 can be found below in the table:

Bengaluru, the IT capital of India is at the bottom in terms of urban governance (Source: Janaagraha ASICs report)

While Pune has overtaken Thiruvananthapuram to secure the first spot, Kolkata has managed to secure the second spot. Even though Indian cities are improving, the pace of the change is very slow according to the NGO. As India urbanises at a fast pace, the quality of governance, planning and infrastructure in urban India has to improve quickly. This report is a wake-up call for all cities to check their ranks and improve accordingly.

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