Category Archives: Relevant Publications

COUNTER–URBANISATION AS THE GROWTH OF SMALL TOWNS: IS THE CAPITAL REGION OF INDIA PREPARED?

By Manisha Jain and Artem Korzhenevych in Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie (2018).

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.

Book Review in urban studies Journal

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.


Rural Transformation in the Post Liberalization Period in Gujarat

by Niti Mehta
Sardar Patel Institute of Economic and Social Research, Ahmedabad, India – 2018 – Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore

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.


Declassification of Census Towns in West Bengal

Saurav Chakraborty, Subhanil Chowdhury, Utpal Roy, Kakoli Das

Vol. 52, Issue No. 25-26, 24 Jun, 2017, EPW, Review of Rural Affairs

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.

Small and Medium Towns in West Bengal: Issues in Urban Governance and Planning

Mahalaya Chatterjee
Professor & Director, Centre for Urban Economic Studies Department of Economics, Calcutta University
IASSI-Quarterly, 2017, Volume : 35, Issue : 3-4: 353-370
Abstract:
West Bengal, among the major states, was fourth in rank at the time of Independence, slid down to 7 in 2001. It has been above the all-India average through-out in level of urbanisation but the rate slowed down. There are reasons behind the loss of the pace of urbanisation in the state. Firstly, the partition of the country robbed away the urban hierarchy of the state, along with the economic forces behind urbanisation. The rate of urbanisation was slow and most of the new towns emerged around Kolkata or in the Durgapur-Asansol region. Primacy of the city of Kolkata was the most notable feature of urbanisation of the state. Most of the other Class I towns were also in the Kolkata Metropolitan Area. Inter-district disparities in level and pace of urbanisation showed the same trend over the decades. The districts in northern and western parts were least urbanised. The winds of change came in the eighties when the Left front Government went for land reform along with recording the names of the share-croppers. This led to a spurt in agricultural production especially paddy. On the urban front, conscious policy decisions for the development of non-metro towns and regular elections in the local self-government institutions (both urban and rural) also yielded some positive results towards balanced urbanisation. The primacy of Kolkata started to decline and the growth of urban population was more spatially spread. However, the results of 2011 census came almost as a surprise. At the national level, the rate of growth of urban population surpassed that of the rural and West Bengal, the growth rate jumped to 14%. Secondly, of the 2500+ new census towns of the country, West Bengal tops the list with about 582 new towns. Now, researches are going on to find out the reasons behind this change. This paper will look into the small and medium towns of West Bengal and discuss the issues of urban governance and planning for these towns.

‘Census Towns’ in India and what it means to be ‘urban’: Competing epistemologies and potential new approaches

Sircar, Srilata

Abstract

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.

Circular Migration and Localized Urbanization in Rural India

Soundarya Iyer

Environment and Urbanization Asia – 8(1) 105–119, 2017

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.

SPATIAL INCLUSION OF RURAL AREAS: ROLE OF RURBAN MISSION

N. Sridharan

School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi

Draft paper to download

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.

Urbanisation, rural transformations and food systems: the role of small towns

Cecilia Tacoli and Jytte Agergaard

Book/Report, 29 pages, IIED, 2017

Small towns are an essential but often-neglected element of rural landscapes and food systems. They perform a number of essential functions, from market nodes to providers of services and goods and non-farm employment to their own population as well as that of the wider surrounding region. In demographic terms, they represent about half of the world’s urban population, and are projected to absorb much of its growth in the next decades. But the multiple and complex interconnections between rural and urban spaces, people and enterprises – and how these affect poverty and food insecurity – remain overlooked. Drawing on lessons from a set of case studies from Tanzania and other examples, this paper aims to contribute to this debate by uniting a food systems approach with an explicit focus on small towns and large villages that play a key role in food systems.

 

Rurban Centres: The New Dimension of Urbanism

By Neha Pranav Kolh & Krishna Kumar Dhote

Procedia Technology, Volume 24, 2016, Pages 1699–1705

Abstract: In recent years urbanization has become synonym to development. Developing countries like India has experienced huge shift in the economy from agrarian base to service oriented employment. Indian cities unlike the western are not planned; they evolve in layers as a testimony to different period. The settlement may be organic, with heterogeneity yet very well reflects the interwoven social fabric. As a result of urbanization the urban sprawl is approaching the rural hinterlands. The line of distinction is fading away between urban and rural. A new type of settlement is emerging which once termed as conurbation by the Scottish planner Patrick Geddes. The area with diffusion of urban and rural activities is termed as RURBAN. These rurban centres are new emerging towns that are governed by rural local bodies, the activities possess in these areas are urban in nature. The paper attempts to develop a understanding of issues and challenges, possibilities and potential and development guidelines for this upcoming new centres of urban growth.

 

Employment and Unemployment situation in cities and towns in India

NSS Report No. 564: Employment and Unemployment situation in cities and towns in India (68th Round, 2011-2012)

This report is based on the employment and unemployment survey conducted in the 68th round of NSS during July 2011 to June 2012. In this report, estimates of the employment and unemployment indicators are presented for each of the class 1 cities, for size class 2 towns and for size class 3 towns.

Changes in WPR among persons of age 15 years and above between 2004-05 and 2011-12 for different size class of towns: Over the period 2004-05 and 2011-12, WPR for males of age 15 years and above decreased by about 2 percentage points for size class 3 towns as well as class 1 cities whereas it decreased by about 3 percentage points for size class 2 towns, while WPR for females decreased by nearly 6 percentage points for size class 3 towns and by 4 percentage
points for size class 2 towns and it remained almost at the same level for class 1 cities.

Self-employed persons: Among male workers in class 1 cities, about 37.9 per cent were self-employed and this proportion was about 42.7 per cent in size class 2 towns and 44.9 per cent in size class 3 towns and the corresponding proportions for females were 35.7 per cent, 42.5 per cent and 50.5 per cent for class 1 cities, size class 2 towns and size class 3 towns, respectively.

Casual labourers: Proportion of casual labourers among males was 7.5 per cent, 15.9 per cent and 21.2 per cent, respectively, for class 1 cities, size class 2 towns and size class 3 towns whereas the corresponding proportion for females was 6.5 per cent, 14.5 per cent and 22.2 per cent.

Small towns beat metros in jobs, self-employment

Construction is booming and related jobs are more to be found in smaller towns. These are some of the facets of urban India revealed in a recent NSSO report on employment in cities.

Smaller towns are surging ahead as hubs of jobs and entrepreneurial activity, beating larger cities and even metropolises. While industrial activity declines in big cities, smaller cities and towns are picking up the slack, often displaying a preference for manufacturing at the cost of the services sector.

Subodh Varma, May 24, 2015

Times of India: text here 

Middle India and Urban-Rural Development: Four Decades of Change

edited by Barbara Harriss-White, 2015

Springer, Exploring Urban Change in South India series

The only long-term urban study in India, and possibly worldwide

Middle India and Rural-Urban Development explores the socio-economic conditions of an ‘India’ that falls between the cracks of macro-economic analysis, sectoral research and micro-level ethnography. Its focus, the ‘middle India’ of small towns, is relatively unknown in scholarly terms for good reason: it requires sustained and difficult field research. But it is where most Indians either live or constantly visit in order to buy and sell, arrange marriages and plot politics. Anyone who wants to understand India therefore needs to understand non-metropolitan, provincial, small-town India and its economic life. This book meets this need. From 1973 to the present, Barbara Harriss-White has watched India’s development through the lens of an ordinary  town in northern Tamil Nadu, Arni. This book provides a pluralist, multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary perspective on Arni and its rural hinterland. It grounds general economic processes  in the social specificities of a given place and region. In the process, continuity is juxtaposed with abrupt change. A strong feature of the book is its analysis of how government policies that fail to take into account the realities of small town life in India have unintended and often perverse consequences.

In this unique book, Harriss-White brings together ten essays written by herself and her research team on Arni and its surrounding rural areas. They track the changing nature of local business and the workforce; their urban-rural relations, their regulation through civil society organizations and social practices, their relations to the state and to India’s accelerating and dynamic growth. That most people live outside the metropolises holds for many other developing countries and makes this book, and the ideas and methods that frame it, highly relevant to a global development audience.

New Census Towns in West Bengal: ‘Census Activism’ or Sectoral Diversification?

Debarshi Guin, Dipendra Nath Das

Economic & Political Weekly, April 4, 2015 vol l no 14

West Bengal’s agrarian distress-driven increase of rural non-farm activities in the 1990s caused the unprecedented emergence of new census towns in the 2011 Census. However, because of the huge increase of agricultural labourers (in 2011), many new census towns might be reclassified as villages for the next census in 2021.