The cities that follow Pune on the list are Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram and Bhubaneswar, each with a score of 4.6 out of 10.
Pune has topped the list of best-governed cities in India for 2017, after scoring 5.1 on Janaagraha's Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems (ASICS).
The survey, conducted across 23 cities, studied urban capacities, resources, political representation and effective functioning of municipal systems, in order to come up with an all-encompassing score for the cities' governance and quality of life.
Pune wrested the first position from Thiruvananthapuram in the fifth edition of the annual survey, primarily because of key reforms undertaken by the city's government.
These reforms include undertaking reforms under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), including appointing an internal auditor, getting a credit rating, providing internship opportunities and publishing e-newsletters.
Other measures include improving the revenue-to-expenditure ratio and per-capita capital expenditure over the last three years and making the digital governance roadmap and municipal data available on an online platform.
The cities that follow Pune on the list are Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram and Bhubaneswar, each with a score of 4.6 out of 10. Surat made a massive jump to 5th place this year, while Bhubaneswar stood out after moving to 4th place from 10th place earlier.
"Surat was the biggest gainer in this year’s rankings, jumping 12 positions over 2016 to the 5th spot. This was on the back of improved performance on own revenue generation, higher capital expenditure per capita by the city and implementation of AMRUT reforms including appointment of an internal auditor and credit rating," said Vivek Anandan Nair, Associate Manager and Project Lead for ASICS 2017.
The overall quality of governance, however, remained fairly low with 12 out of 23 cities scoring less than 4. Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Patna and Chennai constituted the bottom five cities on the list, with scores in the range of 3.0-3.3. The performance of Guwahati and Visakhapatnam, which were added to the survey only this year, was disappointing. The two cities finished with scores of 3.8 and 3.4, respectively.
The low scores only underline the fact that Indian cities are grossly under-prepared to efficiently deal with recurring floods, garbage crises, fire accidents, building collapses, air pollution and outbreaks of vector-borne diseases. Lack of proper urban planning, political representation and transparency, and accountability in the system, have resulted in quality of life deteriorating and may even lead to an unsustainable life, eventually.
All Indian cities score less than the global benchmarks of Johannesburg, London and New York, which scored 7.6, 8.8 and 8.8, respectively. The gap indicates that these cities still have a lot of ground to cover when it comes to governance and providing a sustainable life to their citizens.
Another concern is that Indian cities have recorded quite a slow rate of improvement over the past three years, with the average of all their scores improving only 0.5 points to 3.9 over the period."This is particularly worrisome, given the pace at which India is urbanising and the already poor state of public service delivery in our cities," the report said.