Janaagraha-Brown Citizenship Index (JB-CI)

In 1951, India was 17 percent urban and only five Indian cities had population greater than one million. In 2011, three Indian cities- Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata-were megacities with population of more than ten million and 53 cities had population of one million or more. Over the next thirty, five years, India is expected to add 404 million urban dwellers to its cities, and four more cities-Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad becoming megacities by 2030. Depending on the measures used to calculate India’s population, India will have 40 percent urban population and 50 percent urban by 2050.

The Janaagraha-Brown Citizenship Index (JB-CI) project focuses on enhancing understanding of the relationship between urbanization and citizenship. Conceived in 2012, the project is a unique and equal partnership both in concept and execution between academic researchers and practitioners on a crucial contemporary subject. It also aids the development of policies to improve citizens’ engagement in India’s cities, thus strengthening democracy at the grassroots and bringing citizens in as partners in the journey to better quality of life. With this in mind, the JB-CI has two goals. First, to construct an index to measure citizenship so that we can assess the quality of citizenship-defined by knowledge of civic and political issues, and civic and political engagement-across individuals within a city to determine how citizenship is distributed across the various categories of class, caste and religion. The second goal is to assess what factors determine the level of access that citizens have to basic services in urban India. The latter is accomplished by the construction of the Basic Service Delivery and Infrastructure Index (BSDII), which measure quality of access to public infrastructure (for e.g., water, roads, electricity and sanitation). The BSDII is then analysed in relation to the CI to understand the influence of citizenship on access to goods and services. The index also measures the ability of citizens to engage with the state without having to pay bribe, call in favours, mobilize personal networks or otherwise leverage social power, and analyse this engagement in relation to access to services. The inaugural JB-CI was completed in Bangalore with a survey of 4,093 households.

The key findings of the JB-CI include the following: First, public engagement in Bangalore is limited to voting, and they do not participate much in civic and political rallies, ward meetings and voluntary organizations, between elections. Second, Bangalore has a proportionately larger middle class than the other Indian cities. About two-third of Bangaloreans live in homes in lower middle, middle or upper class neighbourhoods. The findings also show that the Muslim of Bangalore are twice as likely as Hindus to stay in slum and lower middle class neighbourhoods, but do not on average receive lower levels of services than Hindus. Third, levels of citizenship in Bangalore are related with education, class, religion and caste. Generally speaking, higher the Bangalorean’s class and levels of education, higher their level of citizenship. Religion and caste can also influence engagement. Forward castes tended to score higher on the CI than scheduled castes. However, religion did not have pronounced effect on CI scores. Forth, according to the BSDII index, access to basic services and infrastructure is closely related to class and caste. More than a third (37 percent) of Bangaloreans received “very poor” or “poor services” as measured by the BSDII index. Critically, the wealthier class and the higher caste, had better access to public infrastructure and services. Fifth, although poor and illiterate have lower levels of citizenship than the rich and educated, since they know less about politics and civic institutions. Poor or illiterate who are civically engaged receive better access to public services and infrastructure, than their class position would otherwise predict. Finally, quarter if the respondents (25 percent) do not engage with the state to solve problems related to basic services (for e.g. electricity, water supply, ration shops, etc.) over the past two years or to obtain government IDs over the past ten years.

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