It was pleasant surprise this morning to be informed that Nagpur, largest city of central India and second capital of Maharashtra is re-designated Class-A City by the state government. This perhaps bodes well for the city that is oft cited as a promising futuristic global city. This fast growing metropolis is now the third most populous city in the state after Mumbai and Pune. Despite getting steadily industrialized it still remains a most livable city! Why then did it take so much time for this beautiful city to be given the Grade A?
Here’s the reason. The classification of Indian cities follows a ranking system put in place by the Government of India for purposes of allocation of House Rent Allowance to public servants employed in different cities of the country. House Rent Allowance is also a measure for Indian Revenue Service to offer Income Tax Exemptions. Cities are also alphabetically classified on the basis of their population, as recommended by the Sixth Pay Commission back in 2008.
Prior to Sixth Central Pay Commission, classification of cities happened along two parameters — Compensatory City Allowance and House Rent Allowance, both being subdivided into further categories. This classification was initially based on the recommendations of the Fifth Central Pay Commission in 1997. As such Chennai, New Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai got classified as A-1 cities. Cities status later got revised through results of 2001 Census of India when Hyderabad and Bangalore were accorded A1 status in 2007.
With nomenclatures like ‘Orange City’ and ‘Tiger Capital’ Nagpur is literally located in the center of the country with the Zero Mile marker affixed as the geographical center of India. A survey undertaken by a media-house sometime back informed us that Nagpur is the best city in India in terms of greenery, public transport, health care facilities and livability. These are not tall claims as Nagpur also has a top literacy rate – 93.13% among cities with over 20 lakh population! So someone must have done the math right!
This new gradation hopefully will bring in more funds being made available for the city’s development. Salaries of government servants will rise due to the commensurate rise in dearness and other allowances in line with a Class-A city. Rated as a great city to live in, this fact being verified by the increasing numbers of government employees always keen on retiring here, it is true that the city offers great capabilities for growth. It is an important area of concentration for both State and Central Governments to aid its complete development. Nagpur is the seat of the annual winter session of the Maharashtra state assembly – Vidhan Sabha. It remains a major commercial and political center.