Cities are engines of growth for the economy of every nation, including India. Nearly 31% of India’s current population lives in urban areas and contributes 63% of India’s GDP (Census 2011). With increasing urbanization, urban areas are expected to house 40% of India’s population and contribute 75% of India’s GDP by 2030. This requires comprehensive development for improving the quality of life and attracting people and investments to the City, setting in motion a virtuous cycle of growth and development.
The Government of India along with various State and Local Governments is implementing several flagship Urban Missions and Schemes for addressing planned and sustainable urban development. An overarching goal of these interventions is to improve the overall quality of urban life and make Indian cities more ‘Liveable’. This will mean not only providing good quality core infrastructure and services, but also developing cities with ample opportunities for work, entertainment and cultural activities, improved social infrastructure and economic opportunity.
This effort has gained national momentum and has assumed the form of a ‘movement’ under the Smart Cities Mission. It seeks to holistically improve various institutional, social, economic and physical aspects that affect the quality of life of citizens. While cities may adopt different pathways for achieving this goal, a need was felt to create a ‘common minimum framework’, one that can be used as a reference framework by all cities to assess their present scenario and chart their pathway towards ‘smartness’ and ‘liveability’. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has therefore developed a set of ‘Liveability Standards in Cities’ to generate a City Liveability Index and rate cities. This is the first attempt by any country to systematically identify, track and improve upon critical parameters that define urban quality of life.
LIVEABILITY STANDARDS IN CITIES
CITY LIVEABILITY INDEX
The progress achieved by cities against the various standards, vis-à-vis the benchmarks set out for each, can be further used to develop a common measure of the ‘Liveability’ standards in these cities – A City Liveability Index. Sub-Indexes can be developed for each of the 15 categories of standards discussed in this document, and take the form of ’15 Category Indexes’, which can together contribute to a common ‘City Liveability Index’ for each of the cities. Such indexes can be used to create a ranking framework for all cities, facilitating a competitive environment amongst cities to improve their Liveability. Category-wise sub-Indexing will help cities identify and improve upon particular areas of deficiency leading to a systematic improvement in the quality of life of citizens.