Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Janaagraha Center for Citizenship & Democracy releases 2nd Edition of Annual Survey of India's City-Systems ASICS (2014)

Janaagraha Center for Citizenship & Democracy releases 2nd Edition of Annual Survey of India's City-Systems ASICS (2014)

New Delhi, June 10, 2014:  Janaagraha Center for Citizenship & Democracy today released the 2nd Edition of the Annual Survey of India's City-Systems (ASICS).
ASICS 2014 is an objective benchmarking exercise of Indian cities and undoubtedly the most comprehensive evaluation of Urban India. Covering 21 cities, the surveythrows up interesting insights on citizen participation, public services, powers of municipal corporations, transparency in governance and urban planning in India’s leading cities.
·        Indian cities score in a range of2.5 to 4.0 on 10 against the global benchmarks of London & New York which score9.6 & 9.3on 10 respectively.
·        Kolkata scored the highest at 4.0 riding on its sound electoral process- it has a robust State Election Commission and witnessed high voter turnouts.
·        Thiruvananthapuram features a close second rank to Kolkata overall, with a marginal score difference. It is the only city with a local body ombudsman.
·        Chandigarh scores the lowest overall at 2.5 due to its poor legal frameworks. It lacks a contemporary Planning Act, Public Disclosure Law and Community Participation Law.
The survey included 83 questions covering 115 parameters that define the functioning andpolicy framework of the 21 selectcities. It evaluated cities on four aspects of the City-Systems framework-Urban Planning and Design, Urban Capacities and Resources, Empowered and Legitimate Political Representation and Transparency, Accountability and Participation.
The scores imply that Indian cities are grossly under-prepared to deliver a high Quality of Life that is sustainable in long term. The performance of Indian cities is equally poor acrossThe City-System averages as well as the city averages.

Five insights that surface from the ASICS 2014 scores (For details of your city refer to the attahced ASICS 2014 report):

·        The need to focus on Transparency in Indian cities – 17 out of the 21 cities score a zero on Open Data compared to a perfect 10 for both London & New York
·        Delhi comes out as the best planned city. Despite being a planned city, Chandigarh scores the lowest on planning, a paltry 0.6 as it does not have a contemporary planning law in place
·        All cities score 0 on compliance to Spatial Development (Master) Plans
·        Mayors of bigger cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Ahmedabad don’t have five year terms nor are they directly elected
·        16 of the 21 ASICS cities have passed the Community Participation Law, but no city except for Hyderabad has constituted Area Sabhas
·        Delhi and Mumbai have 1,260 and 895 employees per 100,000 population vis-à-vis global cities. New York and London for instance, have 5,338 and 2,961 per 100,000 population.
·        Indian cities have scored between 1.4 and7.1on audit of urban local bodiesand only Mumbai, Pune and Surat disclose their audits in public domain.
·        Smaller cities have better and relatively newer legislations compared to the bigger cities – Cities such as Thiruvananthapuram, Bhopal and Raipur find a place in the top 10  in the analysis whereas cities like Hyderabad and Bangalore finished 17th and 18th respectively

COVERAGE: ASICS 2014 covers 21 cities across18 statesincluding Ahmedabad, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Dehradun, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Kanpur, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Mumbai, Patna, Pune, Raipur, Ranchi, Surat and Thiruvananthapuram.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr.  Ramesh Ramanathan, Co-Founder, Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy said, “Over the years urban residents have become immune to living with overflowing garbage in their backyards,arduous commutes to their workplaces, shabby housing and minimal social or cultural outlets.It is time to move the lens away from the challenges that we encounter and delve deep into the systemic shortfalls that lie at the root of these inefficiencies.At Janaagraha, we believe that fixing India’s City-Systems is crucial to fixing our cities and consequently to improving the Quality of Life for our citizens”.

ASICS allows for a systematic, data-driven approach to formulating urban law and policy. The score allows for a quantitative assessment of weak areas.

Through ASICS, Janaagraha plans to work with individual city corporations to identify key areas of improvement on basic systemic frameworks, laws, policies and processes that can be addressed over a short, medium and long-term timeline. ASICS isn’t just a diagnostic tool. It also provides a roadmap for the future.

About Janaagraha: The Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy is a non-profit organization based in Bangalore, India that aims to improve the Quality of Life in Urban India through systemic change. Janaagraha sees ’Quality of Life' as comprising of 'Quality of Urban Infrastructure and Services' and 'Quality of Citizenship'. Towards the end, the organization works with citizens and governments to catalyze civic participation from the grassroots up, as well as governance reforms from the top down. (http://www.janaagraha.org/asics)

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