New Delhi: Maharashtra’s main urban clusters in Mumbai and Pune aced the government’s first-ever attempt to rank India’s leading cities based on ease of living. While Pune topped the ranking, Navi Mumbai and Mumbai rounded out the top three. Rampur in Uttar Pradesh was adjudged the least liveable city.

Though Pune topped the ranking, the city scored only 58 out of a possible 100 points. India’s 111 leading cities which took part in the exercise scored a cumulative average of 35.6, a failing grade. In the first such government-led effort to quantify and estimate where Indian cities stand, all the 100 municipal bodies nominated as smart cities and state capitals participated.

While Mumbai ranked higher despite getting a bad rap from most citizens, sources in the urban affairs ministry warned that the ranking was as much a reflection of the quality of data that cities managed to furnish as the status of the physical infrastructure itself.

Since the beginning of this year, cities had been asked by the urban affairs ministry to present verifiable data on parameters, including the quality of power and water supply, the state of health and education infrastructure, prevalence of crime, levels of pollution and access to housing.

The final rankings are based on a mix of the furnished data, a third-party survey and direct feedback from citizens (around 60,000 of them).

“This is the first such attempt to empirically capture the position of India’s cities through an index," according to Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep S Puri. “It’s time to acknowledge that the responsibility of the state is not only to deliver goods and services to citizens, but also to ensure the ‘ease of living’."

Puri said the assessment standards evolved by the ministry were closely linked to the sustainable development goals. “This will now be an annual litmus test to assess the progress being made under various urban development schemes."

The ministry also launched a new assessment framework for the 2019 round of its annual sanitation survey, Swachh Survekshan, which will now move towards estimating outcome and sustainability of the process, instead of just visible cleanliness.

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