The 2020 Ease of Living Index (EoLI) and Municipal Performance Index (MPI) rankings were released by the Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Shri Hardeep Singh Puri in an online session on Thursday.
The primary aim of these assessments is to facilitate evidence-based policymaking and fast-track India’s urban development including achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. With these findings, the government can identify weak spots, rectify their mistakes, and address challenges in improving the quality of life.
In the Ease of Living Index, cities are categorized according to population – greater than and less than 1 million people. Out of the 111 cities that participated in the assessment conducted last year, Bangalore bagged the top spot for the most livable city in the ‘1 Million+’ category with a score of 66.70, with Pune, Ahmedabad, and Chennai following close behind. In the ‘less than 1 Million’ category, Shimla holds the first position, followed by Bhubaneshwar, Silvassa, and Kakinada.
The top-performing cities, on average, are from the Western and Southern regions whereas the low-ranking ones are from the East and North. The report states that “Since the start of this century, both the northern and eastern regions have lagged behind the rest of the country in respect to economic growth and development. However, even after the efforts to correct the disparity, the gap is only widening.”
According to the press release from PIB (Press Information Bureau), the EoLI serves as a tool to assess the quality of life and how various urban development initiatives have impacted it. Cities are evaluated on 49 parameters across 13 categories – Education, Housing, Safety and Security, Recreation, Energy Consumption, Mobility, Green Spaces and Buildings, Level of Economic Development, Economic Opportunities, Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Solid Waste Management (SWM), Transportation, and City Resilience.
Union Minister @HardeepSPuri announces the final rankings of Ease of Living Index (EoLI) 2020 and the Municipal Performance Index (MPI) 2020
Bengaluru, Pune, Ahmedabad best cities in EoLI (Million Plus Category)
— PIB India (@PIB_India) March 4, 2021
Out of all the indicators, the lowest average score was for economic ability, at a measly 13.17 on a scale of 100. The report noted this score as a cause for concern over potential stunted economic growth but also acknowledged that the indicators were based on factories per lakh population and per capita wages, which left behind cities that did not generate much manufacturing-dependent income.
The assessment also takes into account the views of the cities’ residents through a Citizen Perception Survey conducted from January 16, 2020 to March 20, 2020. The 32.2 lakh citizens surveyed were required to share how they feel about various city administrative decisions and services and whether it has had a positive impact on their lives. The 2020 EoLI (Ease Of Living Index) assessment is the first time this survey has been conducted and makes up 30% of the final score. Quality of life and Economic Ability account for 35% and 15% respectively. It was found that citizens’ perceptions of quality of life did not entirely match the outcomes for their regions.
Similarly, the Municipal Performance Index, launched in 2020, evaluates the quality of life in 111 municipalities, with 100 indicators spread across 5 verticals—Finance, Governance, Policy, Technology, and Services. In the ‘1 Million+’ category, Indore was ranked first, followed by Surat and Bhopal. The New Delhi Municipal Council emerged on top in the ‘less than 1 Million’ category, followed by Tirupati and Gandhinagar.
This index aims to increase transparency and accountability in the government and help the citizens understand the workings of their local government bodies.