The Ease of Living Index, released by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs on Monday, ranked Gurugram 88 out of 111 cities surveyed across India, indicating a generally poor quality of living for city residents.
Gurugram is the lowest ranked city in the National Capital Region (NCR), behind Faridabad, which is ranked at 82. Ghaziabad has the highest ease of living among NCR cities, according to the report, and is ranked at 46. New Delhi comes in somewhere in the middle at 65.
Data obtained from the report shows that Gurugram has performed well in certain respects such as access to public open spaces (ranked 2), reduced pollution (ranked 7) and housing and inclusiveness (ranked 13). However, the city fared among the bottom rankers in terms of health care (ranked 100), governance (ranked 97) and power supply (ranked 94), indicating deficiencies in the quality and delivery of these services.
“The Livability Index revealed today validates what we have known for long; that livability in Gurugram is very poor,” said Sarika Panda Bhatt, an integrated transport and road safety expert based in Gurugram. Bhatt also commented on Gurugram’s poor ranking in the transportation and mobility category (ranked 69).
“While the city has focused on creating flyovers and underpasses, it has failed to deliver on basics such as foothpaths and public transport,” Bhatt said.
The overall rankings in the Ease of Livability Index have been determined on the basis of four ‘pillars’ — institutional, economic, physical and social. These in turn are based on various factors. The institutional pillar, for instance, takes into account the quality of governance, that is, the “performance of the city in terms of efficient service delivery.” The economic pillar is based on the “growth in trade and services in a city, in the organised sector and also in real estate.”
The social and physical pillars are more variegated. The social pillar takes into account a city’s identity (“the degree to which a city embraces and maintains its cultural and natural heritage”), education, health care and safety and security. The physical pillar has been given the most weightage, taking into account aspects such as a city’s ability to reduce pollution, its power supply, waste management capabilities, transportation, water supply and so on. The sub-categories under each of these are based on data which has been shared with the MoHUA by the various urban local bodies (ULBs) of cities that were surveyed.
However, other experts have expressed scepticism about the methodology of the report. Sachin Panwar, an air quality expert in Gurugram, said that despite being among the most polluted cities in India, Gurugram has ranked high on its ability to combat pollution. “This makes me question the data used by the ministry. Firstly, to obtain data one requires strict monitoring, and Gurugram does not have a robust monitoring capacity to obtain reliable data. Besides, the pollution on the ground suggests that this number is probably an eyewash,” Panwar said.
Recently, on August 6, Gurugram was the only city in India to be slotted in the ‘very poor’ category of the Central Pollution Control Board’s daily Air Quality Index, while New Delhi, Ghaziabad and Faridabad, which all fared worse than Gurugram in the Easy of Living Index’s reduction of pollution category, were all categorized as ‘poor’.
Gurugram MP and Union minister of state Rao Inderjit Singh, said that officials had been demanding the formation of the GMDA (Gurugram metropolitan development authority) for a long time to ensure overall growth of the city. “The GMDA was formed recently and it will take some time to control pollution and ensure improvement in water supply, traffic management and other civic services,” Singh said.
V Umashankar, CEO, GMDA, said he would have to take a closer look at the report before commenting on it.
According to Durga Shanker Mishra, the housing and urban affairs secretary of India, the Ease of Livability Index is a litmus test to gauge the progress made in urban environments. “(It) empowers cities to use evidence to plan, implement and monitor their performance,” Mishra wrote in the report’s executive summary.
First Published: Aug 14, 2018 06:57 IST
Source: Read Full Article