Chennai has emerged as the best city in the country at the second edition of India Today Best City Awards held in the Capital on Friday. A survey of the cities was commissioned by the India Today Group.
While Kolkata has been named as the best city in terms of safety and crime rate, Surat in Gujarat has taken the second spot. In the category of education, Chennai bagged the best city award. Thane was the best city in the category of environment.
The event started with the address by the India Today Group Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Aroon Purie.
In the category of housing, Hyderabad emerged as the best city. In public services category, Mumbai made it to the top. Chandigarh emerged as the best city in the category of cleanliness.
At the thought-provoking panel discussion ‘Chennai to Shanghai: Why India Needs Smart Cities’, moderated by India Today editorial adviser Shekhar Gupta, the panellists raised some crucial points regarding smart cities in India. The panellists included Amitabh Kant, secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, (DIPP); Sanjeev Sanyal, Global Strategist, Deutsche Bank; Partha Mukhopadhyay, senior research fellow, Center for Policy Research (CPR) and Gurcharan Das, author and commentator.
“The success of any city depends on its governance. Cities are the milking cows for any country. Every city should be made autonomous and given direct powers,” Kant said.
Raising a key issue, Mukhopadhyay said public transport should be strengthened. “We should think that parking lots are more important in the city than railway station as people won’t park their cars in the railway station and travel to other cities.”
On the occasion, Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said: “Urban areas are the engines of economic growth. ‘Smart cities’ is the flavour of the season, but urban governance needs to improve.”
“Rainwater harvesting, sanitation, clean drinking water and proper planning are on the top of the agenda of our government. Rainwater harvesting must be made mandatory, Naidu added.
transport and good connectivity in urban areas, Naidu said: “I encourage cities to have cycling tracks, sustainable development and social infrastructure.”
The second edition of the Best City study surveyed 30 capital and metro cities and 20 emerging cities on 12 parameters – overall, economy, housing, transport, public services, healthcare, education, crime and safety, entertainment, environment, investment and cleanliness.
The best cities in the categories of investment, economy and transport were Shimla, Hyderabad and Chennai. Similarly in entertainment, public services and healthcare, the best cities were Gurgaon, Mumbai and Pune. Chennai was also best in the category of education.