In a seemingly significant win for Andhra Pradesh, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs ranked the state and its cities first in the ‘East of Living Index’ under a flagship Centre-sponsored scheme called the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT).
Following Andhra Pradesh are Odisha, and Madhya Pradesh said the Centre’s recent press release. All three states were awarded at the National Dissemination Workshop on Ease of Living Index 2018 in the national capital earlier this week.
“The Ease of Living Index is a transformative initiative of the Ministry to help the cities assess their liveability vis-à-vis national and global benchmarks,” said Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri. “It seeks to assist cities in undertaking a 360-degree assessment of their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats,” he added.
In June 2017, the Centre decided to rank 116 cities, including smart cities and those with a population of over a million, based on basic liveability parameters. The assessment process officially began earlier this year on January 19.
The assessment is based on four fundamental bases—social, economic, physical and institutional (governance), which the release says is further divided into 78 indicators across 15 categories (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 environment).
“All cities were evaluated out of 100. The ‘physical’ pillar (infrastructure) was given the highest weightage of 45, while institutional (governance) and social were weighted 25 each. The economy was weighted 5,” said the release. During the workshop, Union minister Hardeep Puri spoke of how the index sought to direct cities towards an “outcome-based” approach to urban planning and management and foster competition among them.
“Another highlight of the Ease of Living assessment standards is its close linkage with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Of the 17 SDG goals, eight goals are directly linked to India’s ease of living assessment framework with SDG 11,” he added.
Besides ranking cities in various states, the exercise also sought to collect feedback from a random sample of 60,000 citizens to measure how satisfied they were with the delivery of urban services.
However, among other things, here are four more reasons why the state is somewhat of a role model for the other states in the country:
1) For starters it tops the country in ‘ease of doing business’ scoring an admirable 98.42% according to the World Bank and the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).
2) Vijayawada, a city with a population of one million, has been ranked as the ‘cleanest city’ among big cities in the Swachh Survekshan (2018) survey. Both Tirupati and Visakhapatnam also feature in the top 10.
3) The state government recently stated its intention of establishing a world record in installing LED street lights. It has already installed about 8 lakh LED street lights, and aims to reach 30 lakh by the end of this year. By the following month, the state aims to become a 100% LED state.
4) After setting up the i-App cloud, Andhra Pradesh has become the first state in India to complete the automation of its state crime records bureau.
This allows the state police to analyse patterns and trends in criminal activity on their computers and mobile phones using data analytics and other big data applications.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)