Skip to main content

Govt desperation to showcase "feel good" factor behind estimate of 63% India as urban, suggests Prof Kundu


Calculating urbanization? Annual
passenger flow since 2011-12
By Rajiv Shah
One of India’s topmost urban experts, Prof Amitabh Kundu, has taken strong exception to the Government of India’s mid-term Economic Survey, released in early August, especially its suggestion that 63% of India could be urban. Prof Kundu believes, this kind of statement would “add confusion” among policy makers and researchers of urbanization.
Prepared under chief economic adviser (CEA) Arvind Subramanian, the mid-term Economic Survey says that "India was 63% ‘urban’ in 2015 -- more than double the urbanization rate estimated by the 2011 Census", adding, there is a need to "go into a much greater level of spatial detail... to uncover important insights for promulgating expeditious public policy at centre, state and urban local body level."
Asked why the CEA appears desperatein calling India 63% urban, Prof Kundu told Counterview, “A major reason could be to suggest that there is feel good factor following the economy’s seven plus percent growth rate. If the growth rate is so high, highest in the world, then it should impact urbanization, too, that seems to be logic.”
Chairperson of an advisory committee on housing at Reserve Bank of India, Prof Kundu said, the first part of the Economic Survey, released in February, had sought to identify the quicker pace of India’s urbanization on the basis of movement of migrants in Indian railways.
The Economic Survey said, the Census data yielded an annual inter-state migration of about 5-6.5 million between 2001 and 2011, but “railway passenger data analysis suggests an annual inter-state migration flow of close to 9 million since 2011”, suggesting a clear discrepancy.
Prof Kundu
“Clearly, rising growth after the 1980s has led to an acceleration of labour migration flows as the rewards of better economic opportunities have overcome the costs of moving”, the February Economic Survey had said in the chapter titled "India on the Move and Churning: New Evidence", adding, the data are based on the Ministry of Railways’ “unreserved passenger traffic between every pair of stations in India for the years 2011-2016.”
Pointing out that this kind of analysis is good for research or PhD thesis, Prof Kundu said, “But for the Economic Survey to suggest this only creates confusion”, adding, the Census of India’s definition of urbanization, based on the labour force involved in the non-agricultural sector and basic urban infrastructural facilities is quite robust and closer to reality.
Pointing out that railway movement cannot be identified as migration to urban areas, Prof Kundu said, this is a complete departure from the Census of India view, adding, “It is quite unwarranted to use it in Economic Survey.”
Noting that the World Bank in its World Development Report 2009 first came up with the “drastic figure” of 50% India being urban, Prof Kundu said, this was based on an analysis of the clusters developed next to India’s urban centres having a communication distance taking maximum one hour time.
Insisting that there is “nothing new” in what Subramanian was doing, as former Planning Commission vice-chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia would also say that the Census of India was “not capturing” the actual urbanization in India, Prof Kundu said, “This became a reason for the Census of India in 2011 to identify 2,700 new urban centres as against just 500 identified during previous censuses.”
Also taking exception to the mid-term Economic Survey suggesting that population could be one of the criteria for identifying urbanization, Prof Kundu said, “It would be quite admirable if the Government of India seeks to provide urban facilities to conglomerates of more than 2,500 or 5,000 population, but one cannot call such areas as urban only because they have higher population density. Facilities such as healthcare and saniation could be provided even otherwise.”

Comments

Unknown said…
Nice Sir
INJA said…
Amazing how any kind of data is being used to prove that rural India doesn't need investment

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Modi model? "Refusal" to build Narmada's micro canals, keep Kutch dry; help industry

By Medha Patkar*
This is the latest photograph of the Kutch Branch Canal (KBC) of the Sardar Sarovar, as of April 8! What does it show, expose, and what memories do you recall? Is it dry or dead? Is it a canal or a carcass of the same?

Bill Gates "promoting" GMO, Bt cotton, like cartels that have roots in Hitler's Germany

By Our Representative
World-renowned environmental leader and ecologist Dr Vandana Shiva has expressed concern that Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation, has joined the bandwagon of “a poison cartel of three" – Monsanto and Bayer, Syngenta and ChemChina, Dow and DuPont – all of whom allegedly have “roots in Hitler’s Germany and finding chemicals to kill people”.

Indian talc products contain "contaminated" asbestos structures, can cause cancer: Study

Counterview Desk
A recent study, using polarizing light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction, and X-ray analysis on multiple over-the-counter Indian talc products for the presence of asbestos, has concluded that large quantities of body talc products are likely to pose a public health risk for asbestos-related diseases, especially for the cancers related to asbestos exposure.

Why are you silent on discrimination against Dalit jawans? Macwan questions Modi

By Rajiv Shah
Close on the heels of releasing his book in Gujarati, "Bhed Bharat", which lists 319 cases of atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis across the country over the last five years, well-known Gujarat Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan has shot an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, telling him the reasons why he does not want vote for the BJP.

Jharkhand Adivasi lynched to death by mob "chanting" Jai Shri Ram: Fact-finding team

Counterview Desk
On April 10, 2019, Prakash Lakda, a 50-year old Adivasi of Jurmu village of Gumla’s Dumri block, was lynched to death by a mob of men from the Sahu community of neighbouring Jairagi village. Three other victims from Jurmu – Peter Kerketta, Belarius Minj and Janerius Minj – sustained severe injuries due to the beating by the mob. A fact-finding team of Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM), comprising of several activists and representatives of member organisations, conducted a fact-finding inquiry into the incident on April 14-15.

Investigation shows Narmada downstream "seriously" polluted. Reason: apathy, greed

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant, Swati Desai*
Our investigation regarding quality of water flowing in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD), dated April 6, 2019, between 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. reiterates, what is commonly known now, that the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) is planned without considering its impact on the downstream Narmada River stretch of 161 kilometres, its ecology, biodiversity and fishery, and lakhs of people living close to and dependent on the river directly or indirectly. This, in turn, has led to its present disastrous state.

Emergence of a rare Dalit teacher in IIT-Kanpur "disturbed" certain faculty members

By PS Krishnan, IAS (Retd)*
Dr Subrahmanyam Sadrela, a faculty member in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur since January 1, 2018, and one of the rare Dalit members of the faculty in IIT group of institutions, is facing the threat of revocation of his PhD thesis, and thereby also jeopardizing his job and career.

RTE in remote areas? Govt of India "plans" to close down 2.4 lakh schools

By Srijita Majumder*
The Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, came into effect on April 1, 2010, for the first time made it obligatory on the part of the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children from 6-14 years of age in India. The Act, despite its limitations, had progressive elements like neighbourhood schools, community participation, ban on corporal punishment, no detention, continuous and comprehensive evaluation and it hence it appeared that India was not far from achieving universal elementary education.