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Urban led growth: Impacts and Solutions Bookmark and Share  
 
  Author Name : K Ramesh Babu Posted on : November-21-2010 Total Hits: 14939
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For the last 63 years for Indian economic expansion urban/mega cities played the role growth epicenters. As several of policy prescriptions were standing for rural led growth, urban migration was a regular phenomenon since most of the high level jobs and industrial employment located at urban regions.

 

Immediate post freedom scenario consisted with less urban concentration where as today urban India has more than one third of the total population. According to the 2001 census 290 million people were living and at 2010 it is estimated 340 million and projected to add more than half by 2030, as estimated from global consultancy McKinsey/MGI.

 

One of the primary problems of urban development is slum dwellings. There are 49,000 slums have been identified by NSS with various development levels. Recently minister for urban development and poverty alleviation Kumari Selja has said that approximately 8 percent of Indian population or 95 million will be living in urban slums by the year of 2012. Housing for them is a stupendous task and low cost housing models are to be executed to accomplish such a massive scale of 25 million to fill up the gap among downtrodden of the society.

 

Urban agglomeration in India was a side effect of more focus on industrialization rather than agriculture which is still the largest GDP provider. Rural population in India still holds majority and major market for all goods and services. However, the reverse policy of industrialization caused many benefits to be accrued with urban and semi-urban regions. Large scale migration and increase in native population led more chaos in developing necessary physical and social infrastructure. Urban bodies were facing serious crisis in providing clean water, sanitation and other facilities to their mass.

 

India geographically and historically has several urban networks in itself. For example western India a major export and commercial and industrial hotspot is consisting with Mumbai, Ahmadabad, Surat, Pune, Nagpur, Indore, Aurangabad etc under its network which are emerging as major foreign investment destinations. Government of India can not formulate a concrete policy to address the needs of urban conglomerates since it is a state subject. In turn states can not go beyond marking which all potential urban centers are and giving more impetus to some existing one.

 

States of Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat have more urban regions than rural regions due to the fast industrialization occurred during the last two decades. These states have historical background of flourishing towns even during 10-15th centuries. Continuing with the trend British imperialism supported large scale urban industries in these towns and states as well.

 

Hence reversing the trend of urbanization was not possible. Decades after currently India face the pinch and looks out for solutions. However, the solution lies at the state level rather than national level. Highly urbanized states should re draw the policy to identifying the urban areas by changing definitions of urban landscape. Marking more areas as ‘urban’ is nothing but increasing prices of shallow and less fertile lands which are not giving beneficial income generation. Expanding urban space provides ample opportunities for real estate firms to push for notifying these lands as ‘urban’ to boost sales prospects. For example in Tamil Nadu several localities of major towns witness this type of hyped development invariably over the last two decades.

 
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