Gurugram secures 8th rank in easy living index among cities with less than 1mn population
Buoyed by better-than-average performances in the main survey parameters (see box), the city ranked eighth among cities with less than a million population in the Ease of Living Index report 2020, released by the ministry of housing and urban affairs on Thursday.
In the National Capital Region, Gurugram, with a score of 56 out of 100, was second only to Delhi, which scored 57.56, while other NCR cities of Ghaziabad and Faridabad scored 54.31 and 51.26, respectively. The report also pegged the overall quality of life in Gurugram (53.3) slightly better than the Capital (51.22), which was assessed in a separate category of cities with more than one million population. At 51.38, the national average for quality of life was lower than both cities.
The cities were ranked on the basis of scores on four pillars with different weights: Quality of Life (35%), Economic Ability (15%), Sustainability (20%), and Citizen Perception (30%). The last, which has a weight of almost one-third in the rankings, is a completely subjective parameter.
The four pillars were divided into a total of 14 categories, such as education, health, housing, etc. under the quality of life pillar. Scores on these categories were themselves generated on the basis of a total of 49 indicators, such as household expenditure on education, literacy rate, etc. for the education category.
According to the report, Gurugram also scored well on parameters such as housing and shelter (75.69) and education (74.06) under the Quality of Life pillar. Although the report assigned a high score of 82.61 to the city for safety and security, not too far behind the national average of 86.74, the report stated “...top-performers in the Quality of Life pillar such as Indore, Delhi, and Gurugram have recorded a high incidence of crimes against women.”
Apart from these, the city registered a perfect score of 100 in the city resilience category under the Sustainability pillar, which had a national average score of 91.59. Mapping the housing and shelter category scores, the report states, “Twelve Less than Million cities have emerged as positive outliers in terms of slum population, with no section of the population residing in slums. This includes cities such as Gurugram, Varanasi, Meerut, Patna, Dhanbad, Shimla, Indore, and Jammu.”
The ground situation is, however, different for Gurugram where slum clusters continue to be a part of the urban landscape.
On the downside, mobility remains a challenge in the city. Gurugram scored a measly 25.54, lower than the national average of 28.05.
Yash Garg, the deputy commissioner of Gurugram, said, “Even though Metro connectivity is available in the city and Gurugram Metropolitan City Bus also has regular services, but considering the number of migrants and people who go to work, we need to work upon mobility issues here. We also have to work on green spaces in the city and ensure that all our services are energy efficient and sustainable.”
In 2018, Gurugram had ranked 88 out of 111 cities surveyed across Indian as part of the Ease of Living index, indicating generally poor quality of living for city residents. But this year, a reformed framework was built based on previous learnings.
“The scope and parameters of the index were expanded based on the feedback received from key stakeholders and urban experts. A significant revision is in the form of separation of the outcome and input parameters that determine the ease of living of citizens… Apart from the segregation of the indicators into input and outcome indicators, there have been significant revisions in the framework of Ease of Living itself. The index carries a 30 percent weightage on the Citizen Perception Survey,” the report stated, making both the rankings incomparable.
Recreation was another category where Gurugram, with a score of 11.65, “scored considerably lower than the national average (11.68)”.
“Given that we are a Millennium City, we are working with the municipal corporation and we hope to see a jump in that sector within a year. Recreation is important for a city like ours as it brings a cultural vibrancy, which can be through different avenues like concerts, street art, food festivals, so that the general public has different options,” said Garg, on the scope of improving recreational avenues.
Under the municipal performance index, the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) ranked at 15 with a score of 45.84 in the category of below one million population, whereas Delhi ranked 1 with a score of 52.92 in the same category.
Speaking on the performance, Vinay Pratap Singh, commissioner of MCG said, “We are still analysing where the MCG’s performance has gone down and needs improvement. We will be working on all issues and improve the ranking in future. However, if we compare scores of MCG with municipal bodies of South Delhi (46), then we are not far behind. Both East (40.79) and North Delhi (37.66) have scored less than us.”
City residents, however, said that improvements are needed in the areas of mobility, safety and security and recreational facilities.
Neela Kaushik, the founder of Gurgaon Moms, a parent body, said, “When I talk to members in my community, I still get the feedback that mothers do not feel confident in sending children out after a certain time. Another safety issue in the city is drunken and underage driving, which lead to on-the-spot deaths in many cases.”
Manas Fuloria, a resident of the city and co-founder of Nagarro, said that mobility has been an issue in the city for years now. “Gurugram came up as a city with middle-class to upper-middle-class car-focused population, with roads frequently widened and public transport taking a back seat until recently, when municipal bodies started the services of minibuses and developing footpaths. It is the style of development which is incorrect and authorities have now recognised and started working on it.”