UN report: Indian cities still far from world class status

Featured - October 18th, 2012

India’s thriving financial and political capitals are still far from being world class cities, a United Nations report released Wednesday says.

UN Habitat’s State of World’s Cities ranked 95 cities based on five parameters of “prosperity” – productivity, infrastructure, quality of life, environmental sustainability and equity – stressing that it should be more than mere economic growth in the sense of  “material progress”.

Mumbai and Delhi, ranking 52nd and 58th respectively, were doing “moderately” and were “half-way to prosperity”.

“They are comparatively better, but there is ample scope for improvement,” Eduardo Lopez Moreno, head of the city monitoring branch of UN Human Settlement Programme, said. He added that “political interventions” are necessary for improvement.

The two Indian cities were held back by high air pollution, one-sided urban development and a widening income gap. A. K. Mishra, Union housing and urban poverty alleviation secretary, told The Times of India a more holistic view of the problem is essential and not just the formulation of measures limited to one aspect of city development.

“Unless we integrate infrastructure development and prosperity with concepts like equality and quality of life, the city is not going to be livable,” he said.

The report also claimed that the benefits of economic prosperity do not reach the masses in most cities, thwarting the city’s development in accordance to prosperity for all.