New Delhi: Odisha has topped all Indian states in urban governance, according to an annual index prepared by a non-partisan body that called for greater reforms and empowerment of city governments. Nagaland ranked at the bottom.
Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh followed Odisha to round up the top five. Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Manipur scored the lowest to rank just above Nagaland. The National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi ranked 13th.
In a press statement Tuesday, the Praja Foundation said the study for the Urban Governance Index 2020 spanned three years (2017-2020) in 40 cities across 28 states as well as the NCT of Delhi. It comprised 1,568 interviews, 20 state-level consultations, one regional consultation and a national-level consultation with key stakeholders such as elected city representatives.
“The idea behind building the UGI is to understand the level of decentralisation of Urban Governance,” Praja Foundation director Milind Mhaske said.
“The ranking in the Index is a relative ranking but if we look at the absolute score, none of the top 5 states have scored more than 57%. Amongst the 42 indicators, most of the states have achieved the lowest scores across indicators. This shows that there is a need for urban governance reforms and empowerment of city governments across India,” he added.
The index revealed that Kerala had the most empowered city-elected representatives and legislative structure while Tamil Nadu had the most empowered city administration out of all 29 states.
Odisha ranked first in the ‘empowered citizens’ category while Maharashtra and Karnataka were at the top in ‘fiscal empowerment’.
The index also showed that no state has devolved the 18 functions mentioned in the 12th Schedule of the Constitution to their city governments.
The foundation and index
Praja Foundation has been working since 1997 to enable accountable governance. It is of the view that good governance has eluded India’s urban citizens due to the current structure of governance.
The body says the reason behind India’s poor urban governance structure is lack of grassroot democracy, where local government and elected representatives do not have enough power.
The Urban Governance Index ranks states to indicate where they stand in terms of real empowerment of grassroot democracy and local self government. It is based on four themes, 13 sub-themes and 42 indicators.
The main themes are — how empowered elected city representatives and legislative structures are; how empowered the state’s city administration is; how empowered the citizens are; and finally the fiscal empowerment and financial autonomy of the state.
In the past, the foundation has released white papers on the performance of civic, health, crime, education and housing issues in both Mumbai and Delhi.