By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, December 11, 2020: Odisha has topped all Indian states in urban governance, according to an annual index prepared the Praja Foundation, a non-partisan body. Nagaland ranked at the bottom.

Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh followed Odisha to round up the top five. Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Manipur scored the lowest to rank just above Nagaland. The National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi ranked 13th.

The study by the Foundation for the Urban Governance Index 2020 spanned three years (2017-2020) in 40 cities across 28 states as well as the NCT of Delhi. It comprised 1,568 interviews, 20 state-level consultations, one regional consultation and a national-level consultation with key stakeholders such as elected city representatives.

Odisha ranked first in the ‘empowered citizens’ category while Maharashtra and Karnataka were at the top in ‘fiscal empowerment’.

The UGI is meant to understand the level of decentralisation of Urban Governance. The index revealed that Kerala had the most empowered city-elected representatives and legislative structure while Tamil Nadu had the most empowered city administration out of all 29 states.

The index also showed that no state has devolved the 18 functions mentioned in the 12th Schedule of the Constitution to their city governments. The Foundation says the reason behind India’s poor urban governance structure is lack of grassroot democracy, where local government and elected representatives do not have enough power.

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