Andhra Pradesh (AP) has topped the chart in the “Ease of Living Index” ranking under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), reported by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA).
RANKING OF STATES
- Andhra Pradesh has topped the chart of living index among other states, which was followed by Odisha and Madhya Pradesh (MP).
- The three states were awarded best performing states at the National Dissemination Workshop of Ease of Living Index 2018 in the National Capital of India.
- The awards were given based on data collected on a range of metrics to evaluate the performance of the cities’ administration and also feedback from over 60,000 of citizens in a four-month-long exercise to measure satisfaction on urban services.
EASE OF LIVING INDEX
- The Ease of Living Index is a transformative initiative of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to help the cities assess their liveability in relation to national and global benchmarks.
- It seeks to assist cities in undertaking a 360-degree assessment of their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
- The ease of living index is an effort to assess the Ease of Living standards of 111 Indian cities, which includes cities identified under the Smart Cities Mission, capital cities and a few more cities with a population of over 1 million.
- The Index will encourage all the cities to move towards an ‘outcome-based’ approach to urban planning and management and promote healthy competition among cities.
CRITERIA OF ASSESSMENT
- The ranks are based on overall scores each city got on a 100-point scale across 15 categories and 78 indicators based on the following indicators:
- Institutions and Governance – carrying 25 points
- Social infrastructure (education/health) – carrying 25 points
- Economic factor – carrying 5 point
- Physical infrastructure- carrying 45 points.
- These four pillars are further broken down into 78 indicators across 15 categories - governance, identity and culture, education, health, safety and security, economy, affordable housing, land use planning, public open spaces, transportation, and mobility, assured water supply, waste-water management, solid waste management, power, and quality of environment.
- In June 2017, the government decided to rank 116 cities (all smart cities and million plus cities) based on the liveability parameters.
- The implementation of the assessment commenced formally on 19 January 2018.
- The first ever ‘Ease of Living Index’ covering 111 Indian cities on 13th August 2018, which helped to assess the progress made in cities through various initiatives.
- Three cities in Maharashtra- Pune, Navi Mumbai and Greater Mumbai had topped the first Ease of Living Index.
- The national capital, New Delhi is ranked 65 among 111 cities, while Gurgaon, Faridabad, and Ghaziabad are 88, 72 and 46.
- Chennai is in 14th place. Kolkata was not participatory of the index.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SDGs):
- The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.
- are 17 Goals built on the successes of the Millennium Development Goals, while including new areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace, and justice, among other priorities. The goals are interconnected – often the key to success on one will involve tackling issues more commonly associated with another.
CLOSE LINKAGE WITH SDG
- The Ease of Living assessment standards is also closely linked with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- Of the 17 SDG goals, 8 goals are directly linked to India’s ease of living assessment framework with SDG 11.
- SDG 11 is aimed at making our cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable and is measured through a set of 30 indicators.
- The index provides a strong impetus to India’s effort for systematically tracking the progress of SDGs in the urban areas.
WHAT IS AMRUT
- The Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) was launched in June 2015.
- The objective of Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) is to
- ensure that every household has access to a tap with an assured supply of water and a sewerage connection
- increase the amenity value of cities by developing greenery and well maintained open spaces
- reduce pollution by switching to public transport or constructing facilities for non-motorized transport
- All these outcomes are valued by citizens, particularly women, and indicators and standards have been prescribed by the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) in the form of Service Level Benchmarks (SLBs).
RAPID URBANISATION IN INDIA
- The two major factors that have triggered India’s urbanization in addition to the normal demographic drivers: Rural to urban migrations as people seek non-farm jobs, and large-scale movement from smaller to bigger cities in search of better opportunities.
- The first has primarily increased the number of people who live in abysmal conditions and earn their living in informal low-income jobs such as construction and household work. The latter is best described by the IT boom which has virtually created new cities such as Gurugram or completely changed older ones such as Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Pune.
- The cities in India have experienced a rapid and dramatic transformation. Out of the total population of 1210.2 million, in 2011, about 380 million persons lived in urban areas.
- The proportion of urban population has since increased from 27.8% in 2001 to 31.16% in the year 2011, as per 2011 census.
- By 2050 India is projected to add 416 million urban dwellers to the world's urban population and will be 3 home to about 58% of the total global population
WHAT GOVERNMENT IS DOING TO IMPROVE THE CITIES
- The Government has launched several initiatives to tackle various problems in the urban area and to make best out of the opportunities, such as the Swachh Bharat Mission, Smart Cities Mission, AMRUT, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihood Mission, and HRIDAY.
- These missions collectively seek to foster a better quality of life for India’s urban citizens through improving urban governance, city planning and quality of urban infrastructure.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF EASE OF LIVING INDEX
- Encouraging Cities: The objective behind the index is to encourage cities to move towards an outcome-based approach in urban planning and management.
- Effective Urban Planning: The assessment was first of its kind globally in terms of scale and coverage, and the ranking marks a shift to a data-driven approach to urban planning and management and promotes healthy competition among cities.
- Accomplishing SDGs: The Ease of Living assessment standards are closely linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and will provide a strong impetus to India’s effort for systematic tracking progress of SDGs in the urban areas. Of the 17 SDG goals, 8 goals are directly linked to India’s ease of living assessment framework with SDG 11 that is aimed at making our cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable being measured through a set of 30 indicators.
With burgeoning urban population, existing urban infrastructure, both physical and institutional, is being tested. From demands of reservations to permanent damage to eco-systems, drainage networks, and water-tables, side effects of poorly thought out and badly regulated urbanization are beginning to show. To combat these challenges, the state needs deeper engagement, complex program design, robust implementation mechanism, a rigorous evaluation & monitoring framework and the ‘Ease of Living’ Index serves as the perfect solution to help assess the progress made in urban environments and empower cities to use evidence to further plan, implement and monitor their performance.