Grant: Small and Medium Towns in Eastern India: The Dynamics of the Economy, Mobility and Governance

We are pleased to announce that our colleague Gopa Samanta (Burdwan University) has been awarded a grant by the Indian Council of Social Science Research in order to expand her research on small and medium towns in Eastern India.

Small and Medium towns, although conceived as the key sector for the development of balanced pattern of urbanization and more rural-urban interaction, have remained neglected in the academic discourse in India. However, in reality, the new age industrial and service sector growths are more and more taking place in small and medium cities. Due to this new expansion of economy in these small cities, they have become the centres of mobility. The social structures of these cities are changing at a faster rate due to in-migration of different community groups. Although the small cities are changing rapidly in economic and social aspects, the governance process and the financial grants of the ULBs are not changing fast to keep pace with the economic and demographic growth and the consequent rise in the demand for infrastructure and basic services.

In the above backdrop, the proposed research would try to understand the current status of small and medium towns in Eastern India with special reference to three states namely West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand. It will explore the politics of rural and urban classification at state level and the policy gaps for the development of small and medium cities. The research would try to identify the links between industrial and commercial growth and the overall development of small cities; the role of migration to the economic growth and social change in small cities; urban governance, municipal finance and basic services in small cities and finally would suggest measures that could be taken up by the policy makers to improve the condition of much neglected small and medium cities. Thus the research would generate new knowledge around a central idea of – How India’s small and medium cities are transforming in Globalizing India?