Worst livable cities

It is right time we sincerely thought about how best and how fast remedial measures were put in operation to bring about improvement in Ease of Living Index as the twin capital cities of the State – Jammu and Srinagar have been identified and found to be among the worst livable cities in India. The findings to this effect have been released by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
It may be recalled that Ease of Living framework comprises four pillars which are institutional, social, economical and physical. These are further sub divided into 15 categories and 78 indicators. Both the cities viz Jammu and Srinagar have scored 25.71 and 22.71 points respectively which are much below the accepted standard levels. Ease of Living Index is an initiative of the concerned Union Ministry to help cities assess their livability in terms of global and national benchmarks. It encourages cities to move towards a result oriented approach to urban planning and management.
The ranking puts 111 cities of India on the Ease of Living Index in which Jammu has been ranked 95th and Srinagar kept at 100th place with abysmally low scoring. Srinagar city, only a few months back, earned another “distinction” of being among the worst polluted cities in India. In June 2017, it was decided to rank cities based on the livability parameters. The implementation of the assessment commenced formally this year on January 19 covering 111 cities.
Ease of doing business measures should focus attention on a common man, perhaps, that is what is seen as the latest slogan for better governance. Are we, therefore, coming out of the cobwebs of a sort of isolation as compared to how internationally such exercises are conducted to find out and evaluate where stood the cities in terms of the parameters set for the purpose? Prime Minister Modi had, in the very recent past, varied interaction on the subject with top global chiefs of reputed business houses. The idea was to ensure that a citizen should not feel awkwardly shy in dealing with the State.
There must be an audit via the ranking of the level of governance , identifying the culture, the type and level of education standards, the measures of health security, the structure of safety and security , economy and employment positioning, housing and inclusiveness, public open spaces and parks, mixed land use, position of power supply, transportation and mobility appraisal, assured quality water supply, waste water management arrangements, solid waste management and last but not the least, reduced pollution levels. These all factors relate directly and indirectly to a citizen, his or her way of living and associated factors attached to such living, of course with comparisons and benchmarks.
In other words, these can best be termed as goal posts of individual and collective overall standards of urban living of the country’s citizenry. Any one or more from the listed ones being in deficit so far utility factor was concerned on account of its availability in comparison to the volume of demand, could result in disturbing the ranking and accordingly classify a particular city in terms of Ease of Living. For the planners and policy framers in the Government, it would be easy to focus their attention on where the system faltered.
The concept may look novel to many or its efficacy optional, when we have otherwise proper planning arrangements but the fact is to link the whole gamut of livable conditions at par or nearer to the minimum standards or benchmarks nationally and even internationally established. The Ease of Living assessment standards are thus closely linked to sustainable development goals . It was surely going to provide an effective driving force to the country’s efforts for systematic tracking and reckoning of sustainable development goals in urban areas. The core identified indicators numbering over 30 getting improved upon on an even and continuous way, was paramount in ease of living conditions.