Skip to main content

India is 50% urban, Govt of India's 33% estimate based on stringent classification: World Bank-supported report

By Rajiv Shah
A new high-profile report supported, among others, by World Bank, has said that the Government of India estimate that the country’s urban population, 420 million or 33% of its total population in 2015, undervalues the “true extent” of urbanization in the country.
The report, titled “Better Cities, Better Growth: India’s Urban Opportunity”, blames this on India’s official classification of urban areas as being “more stringent than in most other countries”, pointing towards “long delays in the redrawing of municipal boundaries for fast-growing new areas on the edges of existing metropolitan areas.”
Quoting World Bank studies to arrive at a globally comparable definition of urbanization, the report estimates that “India is already over 50% urbanized”, adding, “Such a finding would underline even more emphatically the central importance of urbanization for India’s development.”
Apart from the World Bank, those who have partnered for preparing the report include World Resources Institute, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, Coalition for Urban Transitions and University of North Carolina, US.
Released amidst the Government of India’s “array of initiatives” to tackle issues of urban growth and liveability, including 100 Smart Cities, Clean India Mission, 500 Cities Fund, Urban Infrastructure, Heritage Cities, and “Make in India” programmes, the report says, “In terms of absolute numbers, urbanization in India is occurring on a scale second only to China.”
Sticking to the existing conservative calculation of urbanization in India, the report adds, “Between 2000 and 2014, India added nearly 127 million new residents to its towns and cities; over the next 15 years its urban population is projected to grow by a further 177 million. Between 2001 and 2015, the number of cities in India with a population of a million or more increased from 35 to 53.”
The report believes, a major reason for a sharp spurt in urbanization in India is that an “an Indian household moving from a small rural area to a large urban area is able to double its per capita household expenditure due to the change in location, holding other household characteristics constant.”
However, the report warns, the fast pace of unplanned urbanization adds to huge infrastructure costs. “Land regulations restrict the construction of tall buildings and availability of built-up space, with pervasive, harmful consequences, including severe overcrowding”, it says.
Especially blaming congestion on household transport because of the “model” in India which “encourages private vehicle ownership”, the report says, “Ownership and operating costs average Rs 125,000 per year for a car, and Rs 20,000 per year for a two-wheeler.”
“In contrast, a typical commuter by public transport in India may pay Rs 2,000–10,000 annually for fares, and a bicycle user typically Rs 2,000–4,000 annually”, it underlines.
Providing a comparison of four cities, the report suggests, the cost would be particularly high in Surat, where there is just 1% share of trips by public bus, compared to 28% in Bangalore, 13% in Pune and 9% in Indore.
Added to this are related problems such as significant increase “vehicle crash” frequency, traffic congestion, air, and noise pollution costs, increased health risks, reductions in open space, potentially leading to reduced agricultural productivity and environmental benefits, growing external fuel costs, and so on, the report says.
In aggregate terms, the report says, these costs could be a whopping US$330 billion to US$1.8 trillion per annum by 2050, which is equal to 1.2–6.3% of GDP.
---
Download report HERE

Comments

TRENDING

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

Actionable programme for 2019 polls amidst lynch mobs, caste violence, hate mongering

Counterview Desk
Reclaiming the Republic, a civil rights network, has released a document prepared under the chairmanship of Justice AP Shah (retired) -- and backed, among others, by Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Right to transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj and social scientist Yogendra Yadav  (click HERE for full list) -- with the "aim" of putting forth policy and legislative reforms needed to “protect” and “strengthen” the Constitutional safeguards for India’s democratic polity.

Noam Chomsky, top scholars ask NRIs to take stand on human rights violations in India

Counterview Desk
Renowned world scholars, including Noam Chomsky, James Petras, Angela Davis, Fredric Jameson, Bruno Latour, Ilan Pappe, Judith Butler, among others, have issued a statement castigating the Narendra Modi government for allegedly creating an environment of fear through arrests, intimidation and violence.

India under Modi "promoted" crony business, protected financial fraudsters, fueled bigotry

By Sandeep* and Rahul Pandey**
Narendra Modi's ascension to power was accompanied with jubilation and expectation. His supporters were expecting an end to era of corruption and initiation of good governance which was described as Achche Din. His party's adherence to idea of nationalism was believed to make India a vibrant country and guide India to be a world leader. He gave the slogan of 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas' conveying that his government was for all.
Corruption The government system is infested with corruption. A minimum of 10% is siphoned off from government schemes and projects, some of which goes back to political party in power and remaining is pocketed by various administrative, executive and political functionaries. This corruption continues and has increased. Now an additional Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) person working as Official on Special Duty or some equivalent position in every government department also has a share in this booty.
The Narendra M…

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army

Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.

A Godse legacy? BJP rulers have "refrained" from calling Gandhi Father of the Nation

By Dr Hari Desai*
What an agony! On one hand, the entire India is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but on the other side, so-called Hindu Mahasabha members have been found mock-enacting the killing of the Mahatma and celebrating the murder by distributing sweets!

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.

Post-advisory, Govt of India appears reluctant to ban e-cigarettes, "harmful" to kids

By Rajiv Shah
Is the Government of India dilly-dallying over the issue of banning e-cigarettes, which have been declared by anti-tobacco activists across the world as providing “an entryway to nicotine addiction”, especially among the kids? It would seem so, if the latest developments are any guide.

Poser to Modi: Why is Gujarat not fulfilling Constitutional obligations to minorities?

Counterview Desk
In an open letter, Mujahid Nafees, convener, Minority Coordination Committee (MCC), a Gujarat-based civil rights organization, has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi on infringing upon MCC activists’ constitutional right to protest. Nafees says, they had no other demands except that the Gujarat government should move towards fulfilling the constitutional obligations towards minorities and international treaties to which India is a signatory.

World Bank needs a new perspective on development, not just a new president

By Maju Varghese*
The resignation of the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim was an unexpected development given the fact that he had three more years to complete his tenure. Resignations at such a high level after bidding for a second term is unusual which prompts people to think what would have led to the act itself.