Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems (ASICS)

The fifth edition of the Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems (ASICS) by Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy spans 23 Indian cities. The cities were scored based on the quality of laws, policies, institutions and institutional processes that together help govern them

ASICS groups questions into four categories: urban planning & design; urban capacities & resources; transparency, accountability & participation; and empowered & legitimate political representation. The report addresses five major issues, and suggests solutions at the local body, State and Central government levels.

The findings of the report include: 

  • Pune scored 5.1 out of 10 (all questions are scored on a scale of 0-10). This is in stark contrast to cities in developed countries. For instance, London and New York scored 8.8 on the same scale.
  • Indian cities has a weak urban planning framework, and the problem can be addressed by a well-made and executed spatial development plan. It is difficult to do, considering there is only one urban planner in Indian cities for every 4 lakh citizens
  • Another problem is stability of finances. On average, the cities assessed generated only 39% of the funds they spent, with several cities unable to even cover staff salaries.
  • Lack of skilled staff and poor management of human resources.
  • Fragmentation of governance and low levels of empowerment of mayors and councillors is another key roadblock to good governance.
  • Absence of platforms where citizens can participate in civic matters in their neighborhoods.

The report is a mirror for the poor condition of urban governance in India. The narrative of decentralization needs to broaden itself in India to accommodate local governments and further to developing of structural mechanisms for the active involvement of the citizens in the governance. This will aid in achieving the ideal of inclusive governance. [Reference]


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