Govt launches index to rank 116 cities on quality of life
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New Delhi: The centre on Friday launched a liveability index which will rank the country’s 116 major cities on the basis of the quality of life they offer.
Launching the first ‘City Liveability Index’, urban development minister M. Venkaiah Naidu said it will cover cities with population above one million, including the capital cities.
The first-of-its-kind index will enable the cities know where they stand in terms of the quality of life and the interventions required to improve it.
The cities will be assessed on a comprehensive set of 79 parameters, including availability of roads, education, healthcare, mobility, employment opportunities, emergency response, grievance redressal, pollution, availability of open and green spaces, cultural and entertainment opportunities. The ranking will be released in 2018.
Meanwhile, Naidu disbursed Rs500 crore as incentive to 16 states that performed well in implementing urban reforms during 2016-17. Andhra Pradesh topped the list with the highest score in implementing urban schemes, followed by Odisha, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
Naidu said the reform incentive fund will be increased to Rs10,000 crore for the next three years to promote next generation urban reforms. He also announced 30 new cities to be developed as smart cities, taking the total pick to 90 under the centre’s Smart City mission since its launch in June 2015.
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s Lok Sabha constituency of Raebareli could not find a place in the list of cities announced on Friday. Meerut, Ghaziabad, Saharanpur and Rampur in Uttar Pradesh also failed to make to the list and will compete in the next round of the Smart City mission.
Naidu also said that guidelines do not impose restrictions on the extent of area in mission cities to be selected for the projects. It is left to the city governments and citizens to propose the works to be done, he said.
Naidu added that it is a “huge distortion” to say that ‘area based development’ under Smart City mission benefits the people of that area only. “It will certainly benefit other citizens as well in several ways,” he said.
Hitting out at the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) governments, the minister claimed, only 39% of 3,138 basic urban infrastructure projects approved during 2005-14 period were completed in time.
However, Naidu said, 47% of the 11,705 urban projects approved during the last two years are already under implementation and would be completed by the stipulated timeline of 2019-20.