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It is generally accepted that urbanization involves the shift in population from rural to urban
settlements. From a demographic perspective, the urbanization level is best measured by the
urban population share, with the urbanization rate being the rate at which that share is
growing. It is confusing when people use urbanization to refer instead to urban population
growth: when urban and rural populations grow together this is not really urbanization; and
because of overall population growth, the current rate at which urban populations are growing
globally is about twice the rate at which the urban share is growing. Although urbanization
continues to be critically important, it is also important to recognize that in some ways the
rural/urban division is losing its importance.
Socially, attempts to exclude low-income populations from gaining access to urban benefits
can be very harmful and inequitable, but inclusive urbanization requires more than just an
open-door policy. The problem with applying the term urbanization to simultaneous changes
along these different dimensions is that they do not occur together. Globally, we are at a point
where the rates of population growth, urbanization and urban population growth have all been
declining for p decades, but the number of additional people living in urban areas each year is
just increasing. Urbanization is often used more loosely, however, to refer to a broad-based
rural-to-urban transition involving population, land use, economic activity and culture, or
indeed any one of these. In 2008, the United Nations pronounced that half of the worlds
population was living in urban areas. But this claim was based on statistics from countries
that use differing definitions of urban, and whose current urban population figures were, in
fact, projections based on census data of various vintages, using very simple projection
Urbanization is primarily the outcome of (net) migration from rural to urban areas. The
expansion of urban boundaries and the formation of new urban centers (mostly the
reclassification of what were previously villages as they grow or develop to meet national
urban criteria) also contribute to urbanization, but it should be kept in mind that migration is
also an important driver behind the formation of new urban centers and the spatial expansion
of old ones.
Thus, the worlds population between 2000 and 2010 pp is estimated to have grown at 1.2 per
cent per annum; the urbanization level is estimated to have been growing at 1.0 per cent per
annum; and the urban population growth rate has been 2.3 per cent per annum (a more
precise calculation would still show the urban population growth rate to be slightly more than
the sum of the other two).
Even well-organized censuses find it difficult to locate and count everyone, especially those
who do not want to be counted. Undercounting can be expected to be more prevalent among
low-income urban populations, including the homeless, illegal or unregistered migrants,
people living in informal settlements.
Future urbanization and urban population estimates inevitably rely on projections, and given
the intermittent and delayed nature of census data, so too do estimates of current urban and
rural populations. When current estimates are based on long past censuses, as in particularly
likely to be the case in low-income and crisis-ridden countries, it is easy to draw unwarranted
conclusions when estimates do not respond to changing conditions.
Urbanization rates are highest in Asia, and global rates have been declining over the past half
The enormous variety of forms urbanization can take. Urbanization is very open ended
process, locally and globally. At the local level, it is difficult to predict which towns and cities
will succeed and prosper, and which will decline; and what the consequences will be for the

urban and rural economies and environments, and it is particularly difficult to extract the role
of urbanization in transforming the world we live in from the economic, cultural and
technological shifts that tend to accompany urbanization.
Along with large cities, smaller urban settlements have also been growing, with over half of
the worlds urban population still estimated to live in settlements of under half a million.
Moreover, particularly in Latin American countries where urbanization levels are quite high
already and it seemed that megacities were growing particularly rapidly, their growth in fact
declined relative to smaller urban centers some time ago. In Brazil, for example, the 1991
census surprised the nation when it showed that not only had urban growth rates declined
over the course of the 1980s, but they had declined especially rapidly for the largest cities.
Peri-urban growth, declining urban densities and the increasing prevalence of polycentric
urban regions have become part of the new urban transformation. When the smaller urban
centers in polycentric urban regions grow more rapidly than the larger centers, this can be
interpreted as reflecting a shift in population growth towards smaller settlements, not all
aspects of urbanization are economically advantageous, however, and urban crowding and
congestion also have their costs, particularly if they are not well managed.
The well-educated and wealthy rural residents may find it relatively easy to find alternative
places to work and live in urban areas. But, the less educated and poorer rural residents are
also less likely to be able to find a secure urban home and livelihood, particularly if no efforts
are being made in urban areas to accommodate their growing low income populations.
Those who support urbanization as a means of economic advancement generally accept that it
also tends to be associated with rising income inequalities.
Urbanization has been part of modern economic growth, and is sometimes blamed for
contributing to climate change and other global environmental burdens associated with high
consumption levels. During the industrialization and urbanization of 19th century Europe and
North America, the persistently unhygienic sanitary conditions of cities facilitated the spread
of cholera and other waterborne pandemics. Ambient urban air pollution became the scourge
of some of the most economically successful cities.
Urbanization is putting in place infrastructure that will not only contribute to or protect
people from more local environment burdens, but will determine whether cities, and
urbanization itself, contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation, excluding people
from cities tends to aggravate the impact of prevailing environmental problems.
At the moment, India is among the countries of low level of urbanization. Number of urban
agglomeration /town has grown from 1827 in 1901 to 5161 in 2001. Number of population
residing in urban areas has increased from 2.58 crores in 1901 to 28.53 crores in 2001.
Only28% of population was living in urban areas as per 2001 census.
The colonial economy generated strong commodity and population flows towards its key
ports and administrative towns The four major urban agglomerations (UAs) of Calcutta,
Madras, Bombay and Karachi (presently in Pakistan) served, unlike their Western
counterparts in the medieval period, as focal points of a mechanism for generating and
extracting economic surplus .Unlike their counterparts in developed countries, the Indian
agglomerations were not a product of economic development The colonial policy of
industrialization resulted in the concentration of units producing goods mostly for
consumption within the few large cities The displacement of the workforce from primary and
secondary sectors in rural areas, and their non-absorption in the formal urban economy, led to
serious problems of unemployment, informal employment and poverty. The displacement of
the workforce from primary and secondary sectors in rural areas, and their nonabsorption in
the formal urban economy, led to serious problems of unemployment, informal employment
and poverty.

In many developed countries, the high level of agricultural production, and the surpluses
generated as a consequence, had facilitated the growth of cities. In British India, however, it
was not the level of agricultural or industrial surplus but the socio-political organization that
enabled the cities.
In Census of India, 2001 two types of town were identified :
a) Statutory towns : All places with a municipality, corporation, Cantonment board or notified
town area committee, etc. so declared by state law.
b) Census towns : Places which satisfy following criteria :i) a minimum population of 5000 ;
ii) at least 75% of male working population engaged in non agricultural pursuits; and a
density of population of at least 400 persons per sq km
Urban Agglomeration : Urban agglomeration is a continuous urban spread constituting a town
and its adjoining urban outgrowths (OGs) or two or more physical contiguous town together
and any adjoining urban out growths of such towns. Examples of out
growths are railway colonies, university campus, port area, military campus etc. that may
come up near statutory town or city. For census of India, 2001 it was decided that the core
town or at least one of the constituent towns of an urban agglomeration should necessarily be
a statutory town and the total population of all the constituents should not be less than
20,000( as per 1991Census).
With these two basic criteria having been met the following are the possible different
situations in which urban agglomerations could be constituted.
i) a city or town with one or more contiguous outgrowths;
ii) two or more adjoining towns with or without their outgrowths;
iii) a city or one or more adjoining towns with their out growths all of which form a
continuous spread
The pace of urban growth was rapid during the first three decades after Independence, but
that led to greater informalization of the urban economy and to growing deprivation in terms
of basic services.
Smaller urban localities typically make up a minute proportion of the total urban population,
whether in India or elsewhere. Lowering the cut-off population number or relaxing the
density criteria might increase the percentage of urban population in India slightly, but that
would not be the case for urban growth. This is because a large number of villages having
some 5000 people or more, and that do not meet the other criteria, have stagnant economies
and therefore tend to be out-migrating in character.
Considering all these factors, there is no reason to believe that Indias low levels of
urbanization or urban growth are due primarily to definitional issues. The developed states
attracted population in urban areas due to industrialization and infrastructural investment but
this was largely in and around large cities and upcoming industrial centers. Interestingly, the
backward states too
particularly their backward districts and small and medium towns experienced more rapid
urban growth. This can be partly attributed to government investment in the district and
taluka headquarters.
The urban-rural ratio for India in 2001 turns out to be around 38, meaning that against every
100 ruralites there are 38 urbanites in India in 2001. All these indices pin point that India is in
the process of urbanization and it is at the acceleration stage of urbanization.
The urbanization process has, thus, become concentrated in developed regions and larger
cities in recent years. An analysis of the dynamics of regional development in the 1990s
reveals that income growth has been uneven across states and so has the incidence of poverty.

Despite significant growth in per capita income and the decline in poverty over the past the
decades, regional inequality in both has been accentuated. The low share of children and
elderly people in India would imply that it will have a relatively low dependency burden.
The nature of economic growth in India, however, does not guarantee that the growth in job
opportunities will equal the increase in the working-age population, and much less exceed it
sufficiently to wipe out the backlog of unemployment. There may be a surplus in labor supply
on the one hand and growing job expectations on the other. This can be explained in terms of
the low employment elasticity of the industries experiencing high growth.
Understandably, planners and policymakers became very alarmed and employment
generation immediately entered the political agenda of the government and that of most
political parties in the country. This led to the government launching constitutional and
administrative measures for employment generation within or outside the macro level growth
Number of million plus cities have increased from 5 in 1951 to 23 in 1991 and to 35in 2001.
About 37% of the total urban population live in these million plus/ UA cities. As per2001
census the newly added million plus cities are 12 in numbers, they are Agra, Meerut, Nashik,
Jabalpur, Jamshedpur, Asansol, Dhanbad, Faridabad, Allahabad, Amritsar, Vijaywada ,
Urbanization in India has been relatively slow compared to many developing countries. The
percentage of annual exponential growth rate of urban population reveals that in India it grew
at faster pace from the decade 1921-31 to until 1951. Thereafter it registered a sharp drop
during the decade 1951-61. The decades 1961-71 and 1971-81 showed a significant
improvement in the growth which has thereafter steadily dropped to the present level. The
sharp drop in urban rate during 1951-61 was mainly due to declassification of a very large
number of towns during that period. Rural growth has been fluctuating since 1901.
Importantly, the growth in per capita consumption expenditure in urban areas has been higher
compared to rural areas, a fact which needs to be examined against the sharper decline in
poverty in the latter. One can argue with a fair degree of confidence that job opportunities
requiring no or low levels of skills have grown in rural areas. Furthermore, employment has
become available on a weekly or daily basis that benefits largely the poorest households. All
this has reduced rural poverty.
It is clear that urbanization process in India is not mainly "migration lead" but a product of
demographic explosion due to natural increase. People migrate to cities not due to urban pull
but due to rural push. Poverty led migration has induced very poor quality of urbanization
followed by misery, poverty, unemployment, exploitation, rapid growth of slum, inequalities,
degradation in the quality of urban life.
Urbanization process is not mainly "migration lead" but a product of demographic explosion
due to natural increase. Besides rural out migration is directed towards class I cities
Globalization, liberalization, privatization addressing negative process for urbanization in
India. Under globalization survival and existence of the poor are affected adversely.
Liberalization permits cheap import of goods which ultimately negatively affects rural
economy, handicrafts, household industry on which rural poor survives.
Urban centers in India are characterized by extreme heterogeneity in terms of their socioeconomic characteristics. Large cities exhibit distinctly lower poverty ratios30 and higher
demographic growth than lower-order towns, as discussed above. Poverty in million-plus
cities dropped to around 14 per cent in 19992000, from the 18 per cent observed in 199394
. The medium category cities/towns, with population between 50,000 and 1 million, reported
poverty levels of 20 and 28 per cent at these two points in time. The corresponding
percentage figures in small towns of population under 50,000 were as high as 24 and 33,
becoming even slightly higher than those in rural areas. There are, thus, reasons to be

concerned about the poverty situation in lower categories of urban settlements, as much as in
rural areas. The low incidence of poverty in larger cities is due to the expansion of economic
opportunities and the availability of semi-skilled employment there
A stronger explanation, one that concurs with the findings of the international literature,
would be that it is the relatively better-off sections of population who are able to migrate to
urban centers since this requires an initial staying capacity and certain levels of skill. With
modernization, technological upgrading and formalization of the informal sector, the
absorption of unskilled rural poor has become increasingly difficult. Migration, particularly
to large cities both from rural and urban areas, is thus highly selective. It is, therefore, not at
all surprising that the poverty levels among migrants are less than those of the local

Most of these cities using capital intensive technologies can not generate employment for
these distress rural poor. So there is transfer of rural poverty to urban poverty. Poverty
induced migration of illiterate and unskilled laborer occurs in class I cities addressing urban
involution and urban decay. Indian urbanization is involuted not evoluted . Poverty induced
migration occurs due to rural push. Megacities grow in urban population not in urban
prosperity, and culture. Hence it is urbanization without urban functional characteristics.
These mega cities are subject to extreme filthy slum and very cruel mega city denying shelter,
drinking water, electricity, sanitation to the extreme poor and rural migrants.
Urbanization is degenerating social and economic inequalities which warrant social conflicts,
crimes and anti-social activities. Lopsided and uncontrolled urbanization led to
environmental degradation and degradation in the quality of urban life----pollution in sound,
air, water, created by disposal of hazardous waste. Illiterate, low- skill or no-skill migrants
from rural areas are absorbed in poor low grade urban informal sector at a very low wage rate
and urban informal sector becomes in-efficient and unproductive.
The decentralization of development planning responsibilities has been ushered in through
the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act, which led to the empowerment of local
governments, particularly in large cities with a relatively high tax and non-tax revenue base,
although the willingness and initiatives of state governments to devolve the powers have
varied significantly across states. The basic objective of the new system of governance is to
create an institutional and legal structure that would enable the deserving cities to access
resources, from both public and private agencies, based on a set of indicators.
With the decline in central or state assistance in the era of decentralized governance, it is not
surprising that small and medium towns, particularly those in less developed states, are not
able to make any investment for improving infrastructure and basic services. The new system
of governance has adversely affected the level of basic services, which in turn has reduced
their capacity to attract new economic activities and absorb the future stream of migrants. In
the new system of urban governance, civil society organizations have become very active and
vocal in recent years, particularly in large cities, with the objective of ensuring the safety of
their residents, better delivery of public amenities and more efficient management of
development projects. In the process, the more powerful organizations, mostly from better-off
social groups in formal colonies, have tried to sanitize their neighborhoods by removing
encroachments, slums, squatter settlements and petty commercial establishments that, in their
view, pose a threat to local security and hygiene. Given the resource constraints in
government agencies, financial institutions, international donors and creditrating agencies
have come up with various innovative arrangements for resource mobilization, with
significant impact on urban development.
The system of mission plans proposes to improve the living conditions of the poor through
integrated housing projects, implemented through state governments and local bodies and

with the engagement of private agencies. One means of enabling this transfer would be to
adopt more inclusive policies in the Class I cities, ensuring that they can absorb a large part
of the ruralurban transfer. Unfortunately, there is likely to be political resistance to this. A
large number of Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) have adopted policies of privatization,
partnership arrangements and promotion of community-based projects to lessen the pressure
on their budgetary resources. Projects sub-contracted to private agencies or launched with
publicprivate partnership mostly have stipulations of cost recovery aiming to make the
projects financially selfsustaining. However, low-income neighborhoods find it difficult to
meet the stipulations. The same occurs in relation to public sector projects that are becoming
increasingly dependent on institutional borrowings and capital markets Policy should also
relate to proper urban planning where city planning will consist of operational,
developmental and restorative planning. Operational planning should take care of
improvement of urban infrastructure, e.g. roads, traffic, transport etc.
Developmental planning should emphasize on development of newly annexed urban areas.
Various urban renewal processes can be used.
Restorative planning should aim to restore original status of old building monuments which
have historic value. The new system of governance has enhanced the resources of several
large cities, as these could guarantee compliance with the reform measures. They have been
able to obtain a larger share of not only government and other domestic resources but also
those from international agencies urging them to push the reform agenda. A mechanism is
now being developed to provide access to institutional funds for small local bodies by
mobilizing resources through infrastructure bonds at the state level.