Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems (ASICS) 2023 Report

The Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems (ASICS) is a comprehensive diagnostic of the state of India’s city-systems – the complex, mostly-invisible factors (such as laws, policies, institutions, institutional processes) that underpin urban governance and strongly influence the quality of life in India’s cities. This is a flagship advocacy initiative by Janaagraha, a Bengaluru based not-for-profit institution working to transform the quality of life in India’s cities and towns. It defines quality of life as comprising quality of infrastructure and services, and quality of citizenship. 

ASICS is intended to serve as a bellwether of the degree and direction of systemic reforms being undertaken by governments in the urban context. 

The Framework  

The City-Systems framework provides a comprehensive systems approach to diagnose and address governance and institutional reforms. It evaluates the quality of governance in cities and consists of the following four components:  

  1. Urban planning and design: Addresses weak spatial planning, and absence of design standards. 
  2. Urban capacities and resources: Highlights the lack of adequate finances and lack of adequate skilled workforce. 
  3. Empowered and legitimate political representation: Underscores weak political leadership at the city-level, in terms of both powers and legitimacy. 
  4. Transparency, accountability and participation: Calls out opaque administration and lack of accountability and opportunities for citizens to participate. 

How do we use ASICS?

ASICS aims to provide a common frame of reference for political and administrative leaders, business and academia, media and civil society, in different cities to converge on their agenda for transformative reforms. 

Janaagraha takes a collaborative approach, using their expertise in governance reforms combined with city partners with local knowledge and relationships. This collaborative potential is used to effectively engage political and administrative decision makers using ASICS findings, and advocate and implement reform agendas to improve urban governance, and thereby the ability of our cities to deliver good quality of life. 

Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems (ASICS): Sixth Edition

In its sixth edition, ASICS evaluates the quality of #urbanlaws of ALL states/UTs, covering all 4,800 + cities in India through 52 questions. It analyses 82 municipal legislations, 44 town and country planning acts, 176 allied acts, rules, and notifications and 32 policy/scheme / other documents. Further, to make the study more relevant, 27 additional data sets were analyzed.

Until the fifth edition in 2017, ASICS focussed on city-level analysis. ASICS2023 identifies four distinct characteristics and possibilities of India’s urbanisation that need to be addressed and leveraged for India to fully realise the benefits of urbanisation and surmount related challenges. Further, it recommends ten instruments of change, taking a long-term strategic view of urban transformation in India.

Shri. Hardeep Singh Puri, India’s Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs appreciated ASICS 2023 as a “meticulous and praise-worthy effort”, and also endorsed the ten key recommendations made in the report, during the report launch.

The full Annual Survey of India’s City-Systems (ASICS) 2023 Report, as well as previous editions, can be found on: Janaagraha’s ASICS page.