AIR POLLUTION
August 19, 2019
Chief Of Defence Staff
August 20, 2019

THE NEWS: 

  • NITI Aayog is identifying statutes and rules that need to be abolished for being a burden on people, as part of the government’s efforts to improve ease of living.
  • The idea is to replace highly prescriptive laws with new ones that encourage voluntary compliance, and lay down only broad principles and a negative list of prohibited actions.

Ease of Living Index:

  • It aims at improving living standards and making sure that people’s actions are not in response to government pressure or to rules and regulations all the time. It involves ensuring that people have the space to do what they want to, in economic or other terms.
  • Index is released by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA).

Its Basic Indicators::

The four parameters include

  • Institutional (governance),
  • Social (identity, education, health, security),
  • Economic ( economy, employment) and
  • Physical factors (waste water and solid waste management, pollution, housing/ inclusiveness, mixed land use, power and water supply, transport, public open spaces).

Institutional and social parameters carry 25 points each, physical factors have weightage of 45 points and economic factors 5 points totaling to 100 mark scale on which cities were evaluated.

Issues:

  • Cities are not recognized as units of the economy and therefore it becomes very difficult to measure.
  • Quality of data used- The main source of data for the computation of the Ease of Living index involved secondary data, which was collated by city governments from various sources.
  • There is very little correspondence between the Ease of Living index rankings and the livability index.

Steps taken to improve ease of living:

The government has launched various schemes to improve the quality of life of the citizens like:

  • Atal Innovation Mission,
  • AMRUT(Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation),
  • Digital India,
  • HRIDAY(National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana),
  • Housing for All,
  • National Health Mission,
  • National water Mission,
  • PM Jan Dhan Yojana,
  • PM Kaushal Vikas Yojana,
  • Power for all, Startup India, Smart India,
  • Swachh Bharat Mission etc

Way Forward:

  • The methodological issues underlying the Ease of Living index need to be addressed for it to be taken more seriously.
  • More transparency in sharing the rationale for different weights as well as in sharing disaggregated data will help build a more credible index.
  • The future versions of the ease of living index could be improved if these changes are made, and if the reliance on dodgy data sources is reduced.
  • The policy formulator should work with states. Monitoring, policy formation, correction should be done. There should be better coordination between centre and states in policy formulation.
  • To bring in focus and drive growth didn’t happen as expected. For certain schemes like Housing for all and AMRUT there is a need to change the structure because it is fine in isolation but liveability is down.
  • The GDP growth is driven by cities. It is necessary to look at them as unit of governance, as an economic unit. Devolution of financial powers should be done clearly to all cities. Political structure needs to be strengthened at the city level and more power should be given to Mayor.
  • Increasing capacity and building skills of city administration.
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