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Kohima: Several Northeast cities featured in the 2020 City Rankings for the most livable and best-performing cities. The list was released by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs on Thursday for 111 smart cities across the country.  

Out of ten smart cities in the Northeast region, Guwahati smart city was ranked in the category above one million, and the remaining cities were ranked in the category below one million.   

Assam’s Guwahati Municipal Corporation was ranked 46 among 49 cities in the Ease of Living Index survey. Bengaluru topped the list. Guwahati was ranked lowest among 51 cities in the municipal performance ranking.  

Shimla was the top city among 62 cities in the Ease of Living Index survey in the category below one million. Among Northeast states, Agartala, Tripura ranked the highest (11) followed by Shillong, Meghalaya (35); Gangtok Sikkim (41); Kohima, Nagaland (49); Imphal, Manipur (50); Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh (53); Pasigat, Arunachal Pradesh (55); Aizawl, Mizoram (57); and Namchi, Sikkim (60).

According to the Ministry, the Ease of Living (EOL) Index was born out of the need to measure programme outcomes and verify whether the interventions were effective in ushering progress in urban India. 

The EOL Index evaluates citizen wellbeing in 111 cities, which comprises cities identified under the Smart Cities Mission, capital cities and cities with over 1 million population. 

The first edition of the index was launched in 2018. The framework for the same, launched in 2017, was composed of indicators adapted from various national/international indicator sets and service level benchmarks.

In the latest edition, the EOL index evaluates development outcomes across four pillars — Quality of Life, Economic Ability, Sustainability, and Citizens Perception Survey — covering 49 indicators examined under 14 categories. The Citizens Perception Survey is a new component added to the framework to capture the citizens’ perception of the quality of life in their cities. The survey was administered both online and offline and conducted between February and March last year.

In the citizen perception survey, Imphal (4) ranked the highest among the Northeast cities with 86.40 score; Agartala (5) with 86.40; Shillong (15) with 81.30; Aizawl (20) with 78.80; Kohima (27) with 76.30; Itanagar (30) with 75.50; Gangtok (36) with 74.60; Pashigat (41) with 73.20; and Namchi (58) with 66.80.

In the quality of life survey, Gangtok (27) ranked the highest in the region, followed by Pashigat (31), Itanagar (33), Kohima (40), Agartala (50), Imphal (56), Shillong (57), Namchi (59), and Aizawl (61).

As for the economic ability survey, Gangtok (6) scored the highest among the smart cities in the Northeast followed by Namchi (7), Aizawl (25), Shillong (39), Pashigat (43), Agartala (53), Itanagar (58), Imphal (59), Kohima (62).

On sustainability, Agartala (6) scored the highest, followed by Shillong (16), Kohima (47), Namchi (48), Aizawl (53), Itanagar (58), Pashigat (59), Gangtok (60), and Imphal (62).

The four pillar-wise scores were then added for the overall score for the Ease of living index survey. The ministry informed that the pillar-wise scores were conducted to help the cities assess the development level, and identify existing gaps that obstruct their growth.

The ministry also declared the ranking for the municipal performances for both categories—above one million and below one million. Guwahati was ranked 46 in the category above one million.

As for the cities below one million, Shimla topped the list among the 60 cities. Five NE cities were among the bottom five ranking—Shillong (60), Imphal (59), Kohima (58), Pashigat (57), Itanagar (56), Gangtok (55). Agartala (51) and Aizawl (53) were the other two in the ranking for the municipal performance. 

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