Prosperity coming to Delhi, Mumbai: UN

New Delhi: Mumbai and New Delhi figure among 95 world cities identified by the United Nations as those moving towards prosperity, but the two Indian metropolis are just "half-way" to achieving it with the reasons being poor infrastructure and environment conditions among others.

'State of the World's Cities' report by the UN Habitat analyses the prosperity of the cities on various counts like productivity, quality of life, infrastructure, environment and equity and on all these five categories, the Indian cities are rated just above Dhaka, Kathmandu and Kampala.

The report, released here today, places Mumbai at the 52nd position and New Delhi at 58th among the world cities, though two Chinese cities -- Shanghai and Beijing – figure much above.

"Two Indian cities come under the Group 4 and they are in the medium level (of prosperity). Prosperity is not just the economic prosperity, but the kind of infrastructure and the quality of life in the city. Both the cities have been penalised for poor environment conditions, especially New Delhi," Edvardo Lopez Moreno, Chief Researcher of the report, told a press conference here.

The UN diplomat said the two Indian cities are "half-way to prosperity" and stressed "political and technical" interference to relatively improve conditions in both cities.

However, the report also praises the IT revolution that Bangalore has been able to achieve and calls Hyderabad as the pharmaceutical capital of India.

Austrian capital Vienna tops the list of 95 cities, followed by New York, Toronto, London and Stockholm. While Mumbai has been given an overall rating of 0.694, Delhi received 0.635 followed closely by Dhaka (0.633) and Kathmandu (0.598).

Population growth in North American cities was the slowest of all those in the developed world between 2005 and 2010, particularly in the United States (one per cent on average).

"Asian cities have strongly invested in infrastructure development in the last few decades, achieving nearly universal provision of water, electricity and mobile telephone services," it said.

The report also mentions India's Golden Quadrilateral motorway to connect the country's largest cities - Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.

"In emerging economies like Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and the Russian Federation, fact cities must realise that equity has a significant impact on economic performance, since the greater the degree of equity, the greater the chances of a fuller, more efficient use of available resources, including skills and creative talent," the report said.

The lowest levels of infrastructure provision are to be found in urban Africa (average water and sanitation coverage is 89 and 69 per cent respectively; electricity: 69 per cent; paved roads: 28 per cent; fixed telephone lines: 4 per cent; mobile telephones 57 per cent and and Internet connectivity: and 10 per cent).

On ICTs in Asian cities, it said Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai - feature mobile telephone connection rates of 138 per cent, 112 per cent, 102 per cent and 143 per cent respectively.

The report also noted that cities in India are fast expanding at the cost of rural areas and pitched for a policy for use of land in cities.

It also wanted the cities across the world to enact specific laws that take care of their development.

Moreno said when compared to Delhi, Mumbai is doing "far better" on all the five indicators that were looked by the UN.

"The transportation and environment sector is better in Mumbai than Delhi. However, the indicators have their limitations. Quality of life in Mumbai is still better than Delhi," he said.

Moreno said most of the jobs in Mumbai and Delhi are being taken away by unorganised sector and that this needs to be corrected.

While in most cities a moderate CPI value is associated with a low city product, in the case of the two Indian cities the low CPIs mostly reflect poor environmental conditions, the report said.

Speaking after the release of the report, A K Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, said several surveys have revealed that 60 per cent of the people in urban areas don't have assured source of income and that most of the urban funds go to "well-off" areas when compared to undeveloped areas.

The transport infrastructure which is being developed is not enough and stressed the need for keeping these things in mind at the planning stage itself, he said.

The report says the aggregate annual population increase in six major developing cities - New Delhi and Mumbai (India), Dhaka (Bangladesh), Lagos (Nigeria), Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo) and Karachi (Pakistan) - is higher than Europe's entire population.

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