The state of Andhra Pradesh has topped the ‘Ease of Living Index’ rankings launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. It was followed by Odisha and Madhya Pradesh.
The three states were awarded best-performing states at the National Dissemination Workshop on Ease of Living Index, 2018, which was held in Delhi on September 24, 2018.
Speaking on the occasion, the Union Minister of State (I/C)) for Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Singh Puri said that the index is a transformative initiative of the Ministry to help the cities assess their liveability through national and global benchmarks. The Minister expressed confidence that the index will encourage cities to move towards an ‘outcome-based’ approach to urban planning and management and promote healthy competition among cities.
The ‘Ease of Living Index’ is an initiative of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to help the cities undertake a 360-degree assessment of their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
The Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry had decided in June 2017 to rank 116 cities (all smart cities and million plus cities) based on the liveability parameters.
The assessment on the set parameters formally began on January 19, 2018 and the Ministry released the first ever ‘Ease of Living Index’ covering 111 Indian cities on August 13, 2018
The index serves as a litmus test to help assess the progress made in cities through various initiatives.
The framework mainly comprises four pillars including Institutional, Social, Economic and Physical, which are further broken down into 78 indicators across 15 categories.
Some of the indicators include 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 the environment.
All the cities were evaluated out of 100. While the 'physical' pillar (infrastructure) was given the highest weightage of 45, the institutional (governance) and social were weighed at 25 each and economy was given 5 weightage.
Ease of Living Index and SDGs
The Ease of Living assessment standards are closely linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and aim to provide a strong impetus to India’s effort for systematic tracking progress of SDGs in the urban areas.
Among the 17 SDG goals, 8 goals are directly linked to India’s ease of living assessment framework with SDG 11.
The 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 first round of Ease of Living covered 111 cities. Gurugram was subsequently included in the assessment.
While four cities of West Bengal – Howrah, New Town Kolkata, Kolkata and Durgapur did not participate, Naya Raipur of Chhattisgarh and Amravati of Andhra Pradesh did not fulfil the parameters as they are green-field cities.
Besides collecting data on a range of metrics to evaluate the performance of the city administration, the exercise spread over four months also collected feedback from over 60,000 citizens to measure satisfaction on urban services.
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