India’s increased pace of urbanisation is evident, but the question remains as to whether India can harness its developmental potential by providing social infrastructure to meet its projected growth. This paper investigates the urbanisation trajectory with respect to the provision of social infrastructure in the Capital Region of India. First, it applies the differential urbanisation model and predicts counter‐urbanisation to be the next stage of development. Second, using socio‐economic indicators, the paper finds high literacy rates and non‐agricultural employment in small towns. Third, it explains deconcentration of large cities as an outcome of congested social infrastructure provision. Fourth, it determines that small towns continue to have poor provision of social infrastructure. This paper recommends the integration of spatial planning with social infrastructure planning, the empowerment of lower‐tier authorities for social infrastructure delivery, and measures for raising local government revenue in the region and in similar regions throughout the Global South.
Subaltern Urbanisation in India: An Introduction
to the Dynamics of Ordinary Town reviewed by Gregory F Randolph (University of Southern California) and Mukta Naik (IHS, Erasmus University Rotterdam) in Urban Studies 1–3 – 2018.
While half the world’s city dwellers reside in small and medium-sized towns (United Nations, 2018), the urban social sciences remain stubbornly focused on the planet’s largest metropolitan areas. Among those studying the North, the global cities literature (Sassen, 2005, 2013) has re-energised the long-standing focus on cities such as London, New York and Paris. Neither has scholarship on the urban South, despite its critiques of urban theories emanating from Northern cities, turned its imagination much
beyond major metropolitan areas. The implicit assumption seems to be that megacities are representative samples of the massive
urban transformation underway across much of the world. The neglect of cities at the other end of the settlement size spectrum is not simply a failure of the academy to study the full universe of urban phenomena. As the evidence in this volume begins to demonstrate, it is actually a failure to grapple with one of the central forces underlying the rapid urbanisation unfolding in the
Global South: widespread rural-to-urban in situ transformations are resulting in the proliferation of small urban settlements.
The book examines the pattern of non-farm development at the national level and identifies the correlates and determinants of occupational diversification for the major states. It is one of the few studies that unravels the dynamic processes associated with growth and development at the sub-national level; wherein it elucidates changes in rural employment pattern and its implications for urban growth.
The book fills a crucial gap in current research, notably, an understanding of conditions that enable large villages to assume an urban character. By providing micro-level study of census towns to capture the nuances of the dynamic situation in the countryside, the book would offer useful insights and provide reference material on the social and economic impacts of urban growth, thereby satisfying the needs of students, researchers and practitioners of regional economics, rural development, and sustainable urbanization.
The book is the outcome of financial support received under the Research Programme Scheme of the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), New Delhi, India.
Shamindra Nath Roy, Kanhu Charan Pradhan
The 2011 Census highlighted the enormous growth of census towns, which contributed more than one-third of the urban growth during 2001–11. Since the rural–urban identification process in India is ex ante, using past census data, the number of CTs that will be identified in 2019 for the 2021 Census are estimated. The present study finds that the importance of CTs will be maintained in the urban structure, and a significant share of urban population will continue to grow beyond municipal limits. The influence of large towns on the growth of CTs will be persistent in the future, but a more localised form of urbanisation is also evident where the effect of agglomeration is less. Such a pattern may be stable because these places are relatively more prosperous than their rural counterparts.
Eighty-one new census towns in West Bengal are on the verge of declassification in the 2021 Census. This must not be understood to mean that non-farm workers are moving into farm activities. Rather, evidences suggest that growth of farm employment has simply outpaced that of non-farm employment in these new census towns and is possibly the reason behind their imminent declassification. The case of Patuli, which is only considered as an example, shows that non-farm activities, especially trading, are witnessing a fall-off phase and that it failed to expand owing to the loss of its market town/rural service centre character over time, goaded by some local factors. This has led to the subsequent inability to generate sufficient full-time jobs at Patuli. More studies are required to build a comprehensive outlook on the policy measures required to preserve the role of these new census towns as market towns and/or rural service centres in the future.
In this interview, Eric Denis, Director of Research at Géographie-cités lab, CNRS, Paris, discusses some of the varied processes characterising small town economics. What kind of economic processes do we see emerging in small towns? We can summarise the multiple and complex economic processes playing out in small towns into four broad types. Locally, these four ideal-types are interlaced with each other: Small towns are incorporated into metropolitan and large cities, Small towns are entrepreneurial, resilient and innovative localities, Small towns are ordinary market towns, Small towns are large villages that expand and grow including a work-force moving away from the farm sector.
By Khaliq Parkar
Environment & Urbanisation ASIA – 2018 – n°9/1, pp. 107-110
By Kanhu Charan Pradhan from CPR, who was among the first scholars to highlight the specific role of Census Towns in the 2001-2011 period, draws on his earlier research to explain the role of census towns in understanding the pattern of urbanisation in India.
Coining the term ‘Subaltern Urbanisation’ can be seen as polemical but it seeks to embody two important strands that shape a common thinking around the potential role of small towns.
First, it attempts to make small places intelligible in contrast to their current level of invisibility in India and at the international level. Second, it tries to think of small towns as sites endowed with some level of autonomy and agency while the dominant paradigm, in particular in the New Economic Geography school of thought, sees small urban spaces as dependent on large metropolitan economies.
Urbanisation in India is usually perceived as the problem of huge metropolises. The focus of this paper is on small conurbations in which specific urban dynamics emerge and contribute also to the current urban transformations. One of them, Kartarpur, is a small cluster-city of craft woodworkers. It shows both the dynamism and the fragility of this non-metropolitan urbanisation. The remarkable expansion of a small furniture industry is linked with endogenous factors rooted in a specific territory, far away from metropolitan development schemes. The analysis shows how a territorial cluster of local craftsmen, putting together their traditional know-how, allowed the creation of a real added-value which is upset by current neo-liberal evolutions.
The classification of 2 532 new settlements in the Census of India 2011 as ‘urban’, and specifically as ‘Census Towns’, has brought small and emerging urban centres back into the purview of urban studies and urban development in India. Taking this to be a point of entry, this article seeks to explore how the urban has been framed and approached from different and competing epistemological standpoints in the Indian context. First, it attempts to outline the different epistemologies of the urban in India, which may be seen as competing traditions because of the unequal stakes they have claimed so far in public and policy discourse. Then, it presents two brief case studies of Census Towns from the state of West Bengal to put forth new questions in this regard. The case studies illustrate significant gaps and discrepancies between the lived experience of the urban and its representation in dominant epistemological frameworks such as the official census. I argue that the historical development of various settlement systems, which constitutes the core narrative of urbanization in India, cannot be understood in all its complexity through mere census extracts or aerial images, but requires engagement with rich, embedded epistemologies that have taken shape within these settlements.
Internal migration is a major driving force for urbanization all over the world and is of concern in Asia due to its rising magnitude. Most studies on internal migration focus on the migrant in the process of migration and a large majority of studies are interested in understanding the conditions of the migrant at the destination for policy concerns. This article makes a case for studying the source of migration and the role that circular migration plays in processes of urbanization at the source of migration. This is particularly important in the context of the growing urbanization away from cities in India. Using the case of a dry land village in northeastern Karnataka, this article attempts to understand the role that circular migration for construction work to cities has in the process of localized urbanization in the village.
School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi
SHAMA PRASAD MUKHERJEE NATIONAL RURBAN MISSION is not a old wine in a new bottle, if one looks at it deeply. For the first time in India, a spatial planning strategy has been introduced in Rural Development Model with land use and convergence of various programmes and activities. If implemented with earnest interest, this Mission will be a game changer for the country. Lesser time for planning and lesser emphasis on people’s participation may challenge mission’s success than achieving desired integration and convergence. Capacity needs to be built at various levels so as to make this landmark programme a successful one.