Tag Archives: India

An ignored boom in India

It’s time to refashion policies keeping in mind India is urbanizing at a faster pace than estimates

Recently, Mint published a series on urbanization and small towns in India. It is also important to look at the analytic aspects of the process of urbanization and policies for it.
In the middle of the last decade we established what we called “large villages” which met the census criteria of towns that were not classified as urban areas by the government. This led to a pessimistic perception of urbanization by experts like Rakesh Mohan and Amitabh Kundu. We argued then that a part of this pessimistic perception might arise from settlements which are “urban” by census definitions but which are still not classified as “urban”. While the absolute differences on this account may be small, due to the nature of computational methods to arrive at population projections, in the end “small” absolute differences can lead to “large” end differences and may affect projections. These can lead to the wrong policy choices on urbanization.
Applying the census criteria of considering rural areas as non-statutory towns, to village-wise data of 2001 census, it was estimated that out of 18,539 populated villages of Gujarat, 122 villages were classified as non-statutory towns, which the Mint articles call census towns.

Yoginder K. Alagh for live mint, 7th October 2012

Full article here

Moving people and morphing places

New census towns have accounted for 30% of the reclassification from rural to urban in the last 10 years

Why do census towns matter? Their share of urban population has doubled in the last 10 years, but they still comprise only one-seventh of urban India. But they matter because their growth challenges many preconceptions and myths that equate urbanization to migration, municipalities to urban areas, villages to agriculture, and cities to manufacturing.

Census towns are not about moving people, they are about morphing places. In the last 10 years, the reclassification of population from rural to urban as a result of identification of new census towns is responsible for nearly 30% of the growth in the urban population, while migration appears to account for less, around 22%, with the rest being the normal natural increase in pre-existing cities.

By Partha Mukhopadhaya (CPR) for live mint, 7th October 2007

Full article here

Zero amenities, yet census towns hit the property jackpot

The land prices in Chandpur have risen 10-fold in the last decade

Census towns, with their low or non-existent rural property taxes and cheap land prices, are often attractive destinations for second home buyers, who are moving in and putting strain on land use and the village-level administration all over India.

Neral, in the Raigad district of Maharashtra, is another destination for second home buyers. The population of the hill station, which became a census town in 2001, has increased from 14,000 to more than 24,000 since then. Higher housing prices in Mumbai’s satellite towns of Kalyan, Ambernath and Panvel have pushed buyers further, according to Amita Bhide, associate professor of the urban planning centre at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

Small- and medium-size industries, forced to move out of Mumbai due to stricter pollution controls, are swelling the population of sleepy villages on the periphery of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Bhide said.

Kishore Jain, a developer and builder in Neral, said that second home buyers and investors are not the only reason for this jump. “A few people are buying flats as second homes or for investment purposes, but the majority are buying with the intention to settle here, as property rates are within the budget of the common man,” Jain said.

However the population boom has put added strain on the water supply to the village, and the panchayat has had to ask for help from the state government to augment its resources.

Cordelia Jenkins, Anuja and Makarand Gadgil  for live mint – 04 Oct. 2012

The full article here

La mesure de l’urbanisation au prisme de la question des petites villes

Une illustration de la méconnaissance de la diversité du monde urbain à travers l’exemple de l’Inde.

Rémi de Bercegol

Colloque GEMDEV/UNESCO: LA MESURE DU DEVELOPPEMENT

Paris, 1er au 3 février 2012

A travers l’exemple de l’Inde, on propose une réflexion sur la difficulté à pouvoir appréhender le processus d’urbanisation : comment ce dernier est-il mesuré ? Que traduisent les chiffres officiels à propos de la réalité de ce processus ? Ne sont-ils pas aussi les produits d’une représentation imparfaite de la diversité du monde urbain ? Alors, quelles en sont les conséquences sur la planification urbaine et la gestion de la ville? Finalement, comment sciences et politiques se conjuguent dans la mesure et la production de la ville ?

Link to the paper

Population crunch in India: is it urban or still rural?

by Gururaja, KV and Sudhira, HS

2012 In: Current Science, 103 (1). pp. 37-40.

The article attempts to present analysis based on the provisional results of the Census 2011. While there is no doubt that the human social organization of the country is undergoing a transition, the nature of growth however is subject to the lens through which this is viewed. Noting the dichotomy of urban and rural definitions, we question the rationality of the ‘urban’ definition and its relevance.

Link to this paper

Urban mobilities and the cycle rickshaw

This is a paper written by Gopa Samanta for Seminar (August 2012) on the mobility within small and medium towns and the role of cycle rickshaw:

“It is difficult to imagine Indian streets without rickshaws. Three major types of rickshaws – hand-pulled, cycle and auto – remain an indispensable form of mobility in Indian cities. Yet, planners and policy makers continue to see rickshaws as a nuisance on city streets, seeking to either control their number or ban them altogether. Commonly, in the process of city planning, two major arguments are often advanced”.

The full article here

Urban India 2011: Evidence Report

A publication of the Indian Institute for Human Settlements

India’s urban transition, a once in history phenomenon, has the potential to shift the country’s social, environmental, political and economic trajectory – a transition to be reckoned with. IIHS originally produced this book for the India Urban Conference: Evidence and Experience (IUC 2011), a series of events designed to raise the salience of urban challenges and opportunities in the ongoing debate on India’s development. The Urban India 2011: Evidence also marks the initiation of a series of thematic Urban Atlases in collaboration with leading scholars and practitioners.

Link

Big ideas, small towns

In a country where innovation is just beginning to take root, start-ups like Foradian represent a new wave of small-town innovators. Their origins give them a better perspective on the adversity and diverse challenges presented by India’s vast geography. Unlike large companies who sell their products at a premium, plus added costs of customisation and support, small-town innovators’ solutions are inclusive and cost effective.

The Indian Express, 16 April 2012

Emerging Pattern of Urbanisation in India

A Paper by R. B. Bhagat

Economic and Political Weekly                        August 20, 2011 vol XLVI no 34.

First published results of the 2011 Census show that the level of urbanisation increased faster during 2001-2011 than the previous decade.

This paper purposes a personal reading of the observed new trends in urbanisation, the components of urban growth and a state level analysis.

Download

Toward a Better Appraisal of urbanization in India

This paper  from Eric Denis and Kamala Marius-Gnanou, has been published on Cybergeo: European Journal of Geography in 2011. Last version is available online or you can download here a previous version.

Abstract:

Up to now, studies of urbanization in India have been based only on official urban figures as provided by the Census Surveys. This approach has inevitably introduced several avoidable biases into the picture, distortions further compounded by numerous regional inter-Census adjustments.
A much sounder option is now available in the Geopolis approach [www.e-geopolis.eu], which follows the United Nations system of classifying as urban all physical agglomerates, no matter where, with at least 10,000 inhabitants.
Looked at from this standpoint, the Indian scenario exhibits all signs that, far from a major
demographic polarization led by mega-cities (as is commonly believed), what the country has been experiencing is a much-diffused process of urbanization. While 3,279 units were officiallycategorized as urban, the Geopolis criterion has identified 6,467 units—about twice as many—with at least 10,000 inhabitants. Again, in the matter of the rate of urbanization, the Geopolisyardstick places the figure at 37% for 2001, 10 points of percentage above the official estimate. In absolute terms, that difference accounts for 100 million inhabitants.
Apart from this fact, brought to light by both physical identification and gradation of the census units of all localities, and a study of the morphological profiles of individual agglomerates, a major finding relates to the greater spread of the country’s metro and secondary cities than had been believed up to now.
Yet another revelation thrown up by this study is that statistical and political considerations have obscured the emergence of small agglomerations of between 10,000 and 20,000 inhabitants. This omission can only be seen as a gap in the national policy on planning and urban development.
In other words, the country seems to be firmly headed toward an extended process of metropolitanization alongside diffused combinations of localized socio-economic opportunities, clusters, cottage industries, and market towns partially interlinked by developmental corridors.
It appears that, on the very wide and diverse Indian subcontinent, there have come into existence many sub-regional settings, which converge, overlap, and diverge, far indeed from adual model of modern versus traditional, urban versus rural, metro city versus small town.
This study of the distribution of today’s agglomerations and those emerging challenges the pertinence of the urban/rural divide as perceived through official eyes.