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2022 JAN 7

Mains   > Society   >   Urbanisation   >   Urban development


  • As per a report released by World Economic Forum, India remains the most dynamic market for urban consumers because it remains relatively rural even though it is urbanizing rapidly. Today India has an estimated 208 million urban consumers.
  • By the end of 2021, there will be 4 billion people in the global consumer class with urbanization continuing to rise steadily throughout the next decade.


  • Urbanisation is the process by which large numbers of people become permanently concentrated in relatively small areas, forming cities.
  • However, there no common global definition of what constitutes an urban settlement
  • The census of India defines some criteria for an urban area
    • Population is more than 5000
    • The density is over 400 persons per sq. km
    • 75% of the male population engages in non-agricultural occupations.
  • Cities are urban areas with population more than one lakh.


  • There has been a steady increase in the urban population in India from 17.29% in 1951 to around 31% in 2011 census
  • The 2018 Revision of World Urbanization Prospects, released by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs,  projects India’s urban population to rise to 52.8% in 2050
  • By 2028, Delhi would surpass Tokyo as World’s most populous city



  • High rate of rural-urban migration:
    • Substantial increase in urban population due to rural-to-urban migration.
  • Distorted urbanization:
    • Urbanisation has been directed towards large cities; there has been an increasing concentration of population in million plus cities.
    • On the contrary the concentration of population in medium and small towns either fluctuated or declined.
    • This has resulted in top-heavy structure of urban development in India
  • Wide variation in levels of urbanization across Indian states:
    • Levels of urbanisation in the states with high per capita income (Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala) are generally high, the opposite being the case in less urbanised states.
  • Hidden Urbanization:
    • According to a 2015 World Bank report, the urban sprawl accounts for 55.3 per cent of the country’s total population and that official census figures understate it as only 31 per cent- ‘Hidden Population’
    • This discrepancy is due to the fact that in major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Kolkata, population growth has been largest outside the fringes of the official administrative boundaries.
    • These areas have urban characteristics but do not fulfil the criteria to be designated as urban


  • Family and kinship:
    • Affects not only the family structure but also intra and inter-family relations, as well as the functions the family performs
    • Disruption of the bonds of community
  • Caste:
    • Caste is a rural phenomenon whereas class is urban
    • Caste identity tends to diminish with urbanization
    • Caste system continues to persist and exert its influence in some sectors of urban social life
  • Status of women:
    • While middle class women get employed in white collar jobs and professions, lower class women find jobs in the informal sector
    • Enhancing the social and economic status of women


  • Urban poverty:
    • With increasing urban population the urban poverty has also become widespread.
    • As the India Urban Poverty Report, 2009 suggests, there is “urbanization of poverty” with the ratio of urban poverty in some of the larger states being higher than that of rural poverty
  • High urban unemployment
  • Growth of slums:
    • According to 2001 Census, the total slum population is 42.6 million representing 15% of the total urban population
    • 38% of the total slum population reside in the million plus cities
    • Reasons slum proliferation:
      • Population explosion and poverty
      • A regional imbalance in development creates rural to urban migration
      • Huge demand for land
      • Rising material costs and labour costs resulting from labour shortage
      • Lack of efficiency of urban local bodies coupled with unplanned city management
      • Delayed procedures for land development forces
      • Social backwardness forces people to live in congested areas away from main areas.
      • Lack of political will for developing slum
  • Inappropriate planning
    • This has led to high costs of housing and office space
  • Critical infrastructure shortages and major service deficiencies:
    • Erratic power and water supply, poor solid waste management system, poor sewerage system
  • Inadequate transport systems:
    • Poor investment in transport sector has led to unsustainable levels of private vehicle use
  • Deteriorating environment:
    • Example: According to the recently released data by World Health Organization, 14 Indian states are among Top 20 worldwide with worst air quality profiles
  • Poor urban governance


  • Legal provisions:
    • The Constitution (74th Amendment) Act
  • Capacity building:
    • Smart City Mission:
      • To drive economic growth and improve the quality of life of people by enabling local development and harnessing technology as a means to create smart outcomes for citizens.
    • Introduction to Metro trains, Mono Rails
  • Inclusion:
    • AMRUT: Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation
      • To provide basic civic amenities like water supply, sewerage, urban transport, parks as to improve the quality of life for all especially the poor and the disadvantaged.
    • HRIDAY: National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana
      • To bring together urban planning, economic growth and heritage conservation in an inclusive manner to preserve the heritage character of each Heritage City
  • Sanitation:
    • Swachh Bharat
  • Livelihood:
    • Deen Dayal Antodaya Yojana – National Urban Livelihood Mission (DAY – NULM)
  • Slum development:
    • National Slum Development Program  (NSDP)
    • Integrated Housing & Slum Development Programme (IHSDP)
    • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana


  • Financing:
    • More reforms in urban financing
    • Reduce cities’ dependence on the centre and the states
  • Local capacity building:
    • Capabilities and expertise of urban local bodies
    • Development of professional managers for urban management functions
  • Planning:
    • Urban planning a central, respected function, investing in skilled people, rigorous fact base and innovative urban form
  • Inclusive Cities:
    • Manage densities and discourage migration
  • Proper implementation of major urban government policies
    • Such as AMRUT, JNNURM, Housing for All by 2022, Smarts City Mission, National Urban Livelihood Mission
  • Create employment in rural areas:
    • Diversification of rural agrarian economy to reduce distressed migration. In this case, the MGNREGA has played a vital role in reducing rural-urban migration


Q. Analyse the role of Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in the sustainable development of Smart Cities?