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February 2022

Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 25 feb 2023

Even though India's economic growth is a silver lining in the global economic landscape and the big cities are the front runners in contributing to the GDP with 60% share, but all this growth is not translating into the enhanced quality of life of their urban population. About 1/3rd of India's population resides in urban centers. According to the Economic Intelligence Unit's (EIU) Global Liveability Index 2022 five Indian cities are ranked poorly among 173 cities of the world - Delhi (140), Mumbai (141), Chennai (142), Ahmedabad (143), Bengaluru (146). The cities are ranked on the basis of five parameters - political stability, healthcare, culture and environment, infrastructure, and education. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) developed the Ease of Living Index (EoLI) 2022 by evaluating 111 Indian cities based on the quality of life, economic ability, sustainability, and resilience. Bengaluru is ranked at the top with a score of 66.70 out of 100, followed by Pune, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Surat, Navi Mumbai, Coimbatore, Vadodara, Indore and Greater Mumbai. Delhi is ranked 13th. Bangaluru's ranking in the global index (at the bottom among other Indian cities) and the Indian index (at the top), brings a point that more indicators and benchmarks need to be included to achieve reliable insights, particularly for the assessment of quality of life. EoLI indicators for quality of life include affordable housing, traffic congestion, quality of air and the city's ability to withstand natural disasters. Affordable housing situtaion in India's cities is in very bad state. The draft Delhi Master Plan 2041 estimated that 85% of residents cannot afford a regular shelter. The air quality in Indian cities is further deteriorating and some are ranked at the top in global most polluted cities ranking. Similar is the case with disaster management situation with most cities unprepared to handle it effectively. Traffic condition is also deteriorating in these cities. TomTom, the leading geolocation technology specialist measuring city traffic congestion, placed Bengaluru as the 10th most congested globally in 2021, while in 2022 it took the second place. Central government, local state governments and agencies must take appropriate measures to enhance the quality of life in these cities with focus on affordable housing, public transport, sustainable population growth due to migration in urban centers by providing employment opportunities in sub-urban and rural areas, proper policies on environment and tackling climate change, better disaster management preparedness etc. Read on...

Observer Research Foundation: India's economic rise is not translating into a rise in city liveability
Author: Ramanath Jha

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