Urbanization is the process of becoming urban, moving to cities, changing from agriculture to other pursuits common to cities, such as trade, manufacturing, industry and management, and corresponding changes of behavioral patterns. It is the process of expansion in the entire system of interrelationships by which population maintains itself in the habitat.

An increase in the size of towns and cities leading to growth of urban population is the most significant dimension of urbanization. In ancient times there have been great many cities such as Rome or Baghdad, but ever since industrialization and increasing industrial production cities have grown phenomenally and now urbanization is very much part of our contemporary life.



We will discuss different definitions and phenomenon’s associated with the urban areas.  It  includes Census definition of Urban areas, Urban Agglomeration, Over-Urbanization, Sub Urbanization, Counter Urbanization and Census towns.

  1. Census town: In 1961 census, ‘town’ was first defined and determined on the basis of number of empirical tests.In 2011, a new definition of census town has been developed. This urban classification of ‘census towns’ helps differentiate between India’s small farming communities and the larger market town-type settlements that are experiencing rapid and haphazard growth.To be classified as a census town, a village must fulfill three criteria;
    • it needs at least 5,000 inhabitants,
    • a density of 400 people per sq. km, and
    • at least three quarters of its male working population must be “engaged in non-agricultural pursuits”.
  2. Urban Agglomeration: This term was introduced in 1971 census. Very often large railway colonies, university campuses, port areas, military camps etc. come up outside the statutory limits of the city or town but adjoining it. Such areas may not themselves qualify to be treated as towns but if they form a continuous spread with the adjoining town, it would be realistic to treat them as urban. Such settlement has been termed as  outgrowths,  and may cover a whole village, or part of a village. Such towns together with their outgrowths have been treated as one urban unit and called ‘urban agglomeration’.
  3. Over-Urbanization: It refers to the increased exemplifications of the characters of urbanization in a city or its surrounding rural area. It results from excessive development of urban traits. Due to the expansion of the range of urban activities and occupations, greater influx of secondary functions like industry, increasing and widespread development of an intricate bureaucratic administrative network, the increased sophistication and mechanization of life and the influx of urban characters into the surrounding rural area, over urbanization gradually replaces the ruralistic and traditionalistic traits of a community. Mumbai and Kolkata are two such examples of cities.
  4. Sub-Urbanization: It is closely related to over-urbanization of a city. When cities get over-crowded by population, it may result in sub-urbanization. Delhi is a typical example. Sub-urbanization means urbanization of rural areas around the cities characterized by the following features:
    1. a sharp increase in the ‘urban (non-agricultural) uses’ of land
    2. inclusion of surrounding areas of towns within its municipal limits, and
    3. intensive communication of all types between town and its surrounding areas
  5. Counter-Urbanization: It is a demographic and social process whereby people move from urban areas to rural areas. It first took place as a reaction to inner-city deprivation and overcrowding. Counter urbanization occurs when some large cities reach a point where they stop growing further or actually begin to decrease in size as their population start moving into suburban areas or smaller cities thereby leapfrogging the rural-urban fringe. There are instances which show that the phenomenon of counter urbanization is occurring in India.



  1. Flux of migration reduces with distance . If distance increases migration preferably from urban to urban or rural to urban areas
  2. Growth of urban centres in India is gender specific : Males migrate first from rural to urban areas leaving females behind.
  3. It is urban to urban migration for longer distances and rural to urban for shorter distances
  4. For every major migration stream , counter migration stream also develops
  5. Urban centres pulsates , grow and retract in prosperous and depression times.



Urbanization as a structural process of change is generally related to industrialization but it is not always the result of industrialization. Urbanization results due to the concentration of large-scale and small scale industrial an commercial, financial and administrative set up in the cities; technological development in transport and communication, cultural and recreational activities. The excess of urbanization over industrialization that makes  it possible to provide employment for all persons coming to urban areas is, in fact, what sometimes leads to over urbanization.

In India, a peculiar phenomenon is seen: industrial growth without a significant shift of population from agriculture to industry and growth of urban population without a significant rise in the ratio of the urban to the total population. While in terms of ratio, there may not be a great shift from rural to urban activities, but there is still a large migration of population from rural areas to urban areas. This makes urban areas choked; while at the same time there is lack of infrastructural facilities to cope with this rising population.

In context of India, the process of urbanization is seen as a socio-cultural process, economic process and a geographical process. As a socio-cultural phenomenon, it is a melting pot of people with  diverse  ethnic, linguistic and religious backgrounds. As an economic process, the city is a focal point of productive activities. It exists and grows on the strength of the economic activities existing within itself. Under the geographical  process, it deals with migration or change of location of residence of people and involves the movement of people from one place to another.






  1. Stage 1: In pre-industrial society, death rates and birth rates were both high, and fluctuated rapidly according to natural events, such as drought and disease, to produce a relatively constant and young population. Family planning and contraception were virtually nonexistent; therefore, birth rates were essentially only limited by the ability of women to bear children. During this stage, the society evolves in accordance with Malthusian paradigm, with population essentially determined by the food supply. Any fluctuations in food supply (either positive, for example, due to technology improvements, or negative, due to droughts and pest invasions) tend to translate directly into population fluctuations. Famines resulting in significant mortality are frequent.
  2. Stage 2: This stage leads to a fall in death rates and an increase in population.The changes leading to this stage in Europe were initiated in the Agricultural Revolution of the eighteenth century and were initially quite slow. In the twentieth century, the falls in death rates in developing countries tended to be substantially faster. The decline in the death rate is due initially to two factors:
    • First, improvements in the food supply brought about by higher yields in agricultural practices and better transportation reduce death due to starvation and lack of water.
    • Second, significant improvements in public health reduce mortality, particularly in childhood.

    A consequence of the decline in mortality in Stage Two is an increasingly rapid growth in  population growth (a.k.a. “population explosion”) as the  gap between deaths and births grows wider and wider. Note that this growth is not due to an increase in fertility (or birth rates) but to a decline in deaths.

  3. Stage 3: In Stage 3 of the Demographic Transition Model (DTM), death rates are low and birth rates diminish, as a rule accordingly of enhanced economic conditions, an expansion in women’s status and education, and access to contraception. The decrease in birth rate fluctuates from nation to nation, as does the time span in which it is experienced.Stage Three moves the population towards stability through a decline in the birth rate. The resulting changes in the age structure of the population include a decline in the youth dependency ratio and eventually population aging.
  4. Stage 4: This occurs where birth and death rates are both low, leading to a total population stability. Death rates are low for a number of reasons, primarily lower rates of diseases and higher production of food. The birth rate is low because people have more opportunities to choose if they want children; this is made possible by improvements in contraception or women gaining more independence and work opportunities.
  5. Stage 5: Birth rate tends to rise again but with slow death rate.



  1. Diaspora: Political , religious and wealthier diaspora attracts more community people and helps them in settling in new areas . eg migration of Punjabis particulary to Canada is also largely due to well based Punjabi diaspora in Canada.
  2. Industrialization and employment oppurtunities.
  3. Infrastructure setups in terms of health services . education , entertainment , transportation and communication.
  4. Security.
  5. Social and political freedom: For eg many rural areas are dogmatic . who would prefer to go to places where there are say khap panchayats which restricts social freedom particularly of women.



India has a long history of urbanization  with spatial and temporal discontinuities.  It is an ongoing process that  has never stopped and has rarely, slowed down since it’s beginning. Urbanization in India is divided into different phases, beginning from Indus valley civilization to reaching watermark during the Mughal period and also contribution from the British made to the process of urbanization in India.

Post-independence witnessed rapid urbanization in India on a scale never seen before. The major changes that have occurred in India’s urban scene after India’s independence are the building of  new  administrative cities, the construction of new industrial cities and township near major cities, the rapid growth of one-lakh and one million cities, the massive growth of slums and rural-urban fringe, the introduction of city planning and the general improvement in civic amenities.

India is rapidly urbanizing and the rate of urbanization is expected to climb steeply over the next few decades. McKinsey Global Institute (2010) predicts an urban population of 590 million by 2030, as compared to 340 million in 2008. For India to be more inclusive, it is imperative that both economic growth and urban population be more equitably distributed.

Urbanization in India has occurred more slowly than in other developing countries and the proportion of the population in urban areas has been only 28 per cent based on the 2001 census. Within 20-25 years, another 300 million people will get added to Indian towns and cities. This urban expansion will happen at a speed quite unlike anything that India has seen before. It took nearly forty years for India’s urban population to rise by 230 million.  It could take only half the time to add the next 250 million. If not well managed, this inevitable increase in India’s urban population will place enormous stress on the system.


1.SOCIAL EFFECTS OF URBANIZATION : Urbanization has far reaching effects on larger societal process and structures. Following are some of the sections-

  • Family and kinship : Urbanization affects not only the family structure but also intra and inter-family relations, as well as the functions the family performs. With urbanization, there is a disruption of the bonds of community  and the migrant faces the problem to replace old relationships with new ones and to find a satisfactory means of continuing relationship with those left behind.The trend is as follows :
    • about 60 percent of the families are nuclear
    • the trend today is towards a break with the traditional joint family form into the nuclear family form into the nuclear family unit.
    • Small joint family is now the most typical form of family life in urban India.
    • Relations with one’s distant kin are weakening or breaking.
  • Urbanization and Caste:
    • It is generally held that caste is a rural phenomenon whereas class is urban and that with urbanization, caste transforms itself into class. caste system exists in cities and in villages although there are significant organizational differences.
    • Caste identity tends to diminish with urbanization, education and the development of an orientation towards individual achievement and modern status symbols. It has been pointed out that among the westernized elite, class ties are much more important than caste ties.
    • However caste system continues to persist and exert its influence in some sectors of urban social life while it has changed its form in some other sectors. Caste solidarity is not as strong as in urban areas as in the rural areas. Caste panchayats are very weak in cities. There exists a dichotomy between workplace and domestic situation and both caste and class situations co-exist.
  • Urbanization and the Status of Women:
    • Women constitute an important section of rural urban migrants. They migrate at the time of marriage and also when they are potential workers in the place of destination. While middle class women get employed in white collar jobs and professions, lower class women find jobs in the informal sector. Women are also found in the formal sector as industrial workers.
    • Increasing number of women have taken to white-collar jobs and entered different professions. These professions were instrumental in enhancing the social and economic status of women, thereby meaning increased and rigorous hours of work, professional loyalty along with increased autonomy. The traditional and cultural institutions remaining the same, crises of values and a confusion of norms have finally resulted. The personally and socially enlightened woman is forced to perform dual roles – social and professional.
    • The status of urban women, because of being comparatively educated and liberal, is higher than that of rural women.women continue to be in a disadvantaged situation even today in the labour market.


2.PROBLEMS OF URBANIZATION IN INDIA: Urban India today is “distributed” in shape—with a diverse range of large and small cities spread widely around the nation. India will probably continue on a path of distributed model of urbanization because this suits its federal structure and helps to ensure that migration flows aren’t unbalanced toward any particular city or cities.The patterns of urbanization has been marked by :

  • Regional and interstate diversities.
  • Rural to urban migration (Rurban)
  • insufficient infrastructural facilities
  • Emergence of slums intermingled within cities
  • Sewage disposal and municipal waste
  • Traffic bottlenecks :
    • Absence of planned and adequate arrangements for traffic and transport is another problem in urban areas in India.
    • Majority of people use public transport systems like metro,buses and tempos, while a few use rail as transit system.
    • The increasing number of two-wheelers and cars make the traffic and pollution problem worse..
    • Moreover, the number of buses plying the metropolitan cities is not adequate and commuters have to spend long hours to travel
  • Urban sprawl ( area expansion at expense of surrounding agricultural lands , forests etc ) which leads to land encroachments, reduction in green cover, contamination of groundwater etc.
  • Concrete jungles
  • Stress on provisions of social service :
    • Poverty of migrants aggravates problems of providing social services such as water , sanitation and sewage disposal.
    • As the urban population and incomes increase, demand for every key service such as water, transportation, sewage treatment, low income housing will increase five-to seven fold in cities of every size and type.
    • And if India continues on its current path, urban infrastructure will fall woefully short of what is necessary to sustain prosperous cities.
  • Water supply , drainage and sanitation :
    • No city has round the clock water supply in India. Intermittent supply results in a vacuum being created in empty water lines which often suck in pollutants through leaking joints. Many small towns have no main water supply   and are dependent on the wells.
    • Non-existence of a drainage system results in large pools of stagnant water in city. Removing garbage, cleaning drains and unclogging sewers are the main jobs of municipalities and municipal corporations in Indian cities.
    • There is absence of motivation to tackle the basic sanitation needs of the cities. The spread of slums in congested urban areas and lack of civic sense among the settlers in these slums further adds to the growing mound of filth and diseases.
  • Pollution :
    • Our towns and cities are major polluters of the environment. Several cities discharge 40 to 60 percent of their entire sewage and industrial effluents untreated into the nearby rivers. Urban industry pollutes the atmosphere with smoke and toxic gases.
    • All these, increases the chances of diseases among the people living in the urban centres. According to UNICEF, lakhs of urban children die or suffer from diarrhoea, tetanus, measles etc. because of poor sanitary conditions and water contamination.
    • As a long-term remedy, what is needed is using new techniques of waste collection, new technology for garbage-disposal and fundamental change in the municipal infrastructure and land-use planning.
  • There has been an incomplete devolution of functions to the elected bodies as per 74th Constitutional Amendment Act, possibly because of the unwillingness of the state governments. In addition, very few Indian cities have 2030 master plans that take into account peak transportation loads, requirements for low-income affordable housing and climate change. In general, the capacity to execute the urban reforms and projects at the municipal and state level has been historically inadequate.
  • The above is not an exhaustive list of the problems of urbanization. A whole lot of other problems including increasing rate of crime in the cities, increasing old age population and absence of social security for them, enhanced role and sphere of market has led to the poor and marginalized suffering the most. Studies have also shown that stress levels are found high in cities, which in turn has deleterious impact on the health of the people.
  • SLUMS and Quality of Housing
    • There is severe shortage of housing in urban areas , most of available accommodation is of sub-standard quality. This problem has been worsening over the years due to rapid increase in population, mostly due to lack of employment opportunities in rural areas, masses migrate to urban areas mostly get deployed in meagre jobs.
    • With large scale migration to urban areas many find that the only option they have is substandard conditions of slums.
    • Slums are characterized by :
      • poor-standard housing, overcrowding,lack of electrification, ventilation and sanitation,
      • Poor roads and drinking water facilities.
      • They have been the breeding ground of diseases, environmental pollution, demoralization, alcoholism and many social tensions.
      • high poverty rates, illiteracy and unemployment.
      • They are breeding grounds for social problems like crime, drug addiction, high incidence of mental illness, suicides.
      • Due to poor sanitation, malnutrition and lack of health infrastructure these regions exhibit high rate of communicable diseases.
    • With India’s slum population is at nearly 40%, slum dwellers form 44% of population in Delhi,48% inMumbai, 42% in Calcutta and 39% in Chennai
    • So what are the ways we can solve the problem of slums in urban cities ?
      • Focus on the core issue of preventing rural to urban migration > we need to provide ample employment opportunities in rural economy , reducing the %age of dependence of rural population on agricultural economy, development of rural infrastructure.
      • Providing low cost housing to the urban poor- Pradhan mantriawas yojana.
      • Need for future policies to support the livelihoods of the urban poor by enabling urban informal-sector activities to flourish and develop. Slum policies should be integrated within broader, people-focused urban poverty reduction policies that address the various dimensions of poverty.
      • Easy geographical access to jobs through pro-poor transport should also be created.
      • Adequate data should be gathered by conducting various studies before the formulation of any policy.
      • There is also a need for investment in citywide infrastructure as a pre-condition for successful and affordable slum upgrading, which could also act as one strong mechanism for reversing the socio-economic exclusion of slum dwellers.
      • Steps should be taken such that a higher and more stable income be made accessible to slum dwellers through their employment in productive jobs. This is because employment opportunities in urban centres that pay well has the potential to generate a healthy and sustainable lifestyle in the slums.
      • Lastly, slums should be developed because developing slums also trigger local economic development, improve urban mobility and connectivity, and integrate the slums, which are enormous economically productive spheres, into the physical and socioeconomic fabric of the wider city.


  • Governance forms an integral part of Urbanization. Governance is the weakest and most crucial link which needs to be repaired to bring about the urban transformation so urgently needed in India.
  • Financing the large sums required to meet the investment needs of urban infrastructure is crucially dependent on the reform of institutions and the capacity of those who run the institutions for service delivery and revenue generation. It is seen that large expenditures on Indian cities and towns have to be combined with better governance structures, strong political and administrative will to collect taxes and user charges, and improved capacity to deliver.
  • The municipal entities need to be strengthened as local governments with ‛own’ sources of revenue, predictable formula-based transfers from state governments, and other transfers from the Government of India and state governments to help them discharge the larger responsibilities assigned to them by the 74th Constitutional Amendment.
  • India’s urban governance is in sharp contrast to large cities elsewhere in the world, which have empowered mayors with long tenure and clear accountability.
  • The devolution of powers shall be supported with improved tax revenues combined with rational user charges (internal revenue generation ), which will enable cities to leverage their own resources to incur debt and also access new forms of financing through public private partnership (PPP). Only then can they augment the urban infrastructure base, provide improved quality of services on a sustainable basis to their residents, and contribute to the growth momentum of the Indian economy.
  • Administrative reforms commission in its 6th report mentioned measures to strengthen the urban governance. Some of its important recommendations are-
    • Urban local bodies should be given responsibility for water supply and distribution in their territorial jurisdiction whether based on their own source or collaborative arrangements with other service providers.
    • Sanitation, as a matter of hygiene and public health, must be given priority and emphasis in all urban areas. In all towns, advance action for laying down adequate infrastructure should be taken to avoid insufficiency of services.
    • Community participation and co-production of services should be encouraged by municipal bodies. This should be supplemented by awareness generation.
    • In all towns and cities with a population above one lakh, the possibility of taking up PPP projects for collection and disposal of garbage may be explored.
    • Municipal bodies should be encouraged to take responsibility of power distribution in their area.
    • Urban Transport Authorities, to be called Unified Metropolitan Transport Authorities in the Metropolitan Corporations, should be set up in cities with population over one million within one year, for coordinated planning and implementation of urban transport solutions with an overriding priority to public transport.



  • Institutional challenges 
    • Urban challenges: 74th amendment act has been implemented half-heartedly by the states, which has not fully empowered the Urban local bodies (ULBs) which comprise of municipal corporations, municipalities and nagar panchayats, which are to be supported by state governments to manage the urban development. For this , ULBs need clear delegation of functions, financial resources and autonomy. At present urban governance needs improvement for urban development, which can be done by enhancing technology, administrative and managerial capacity of ULBs.
    • Planning: Planning is mainly centralized and till now the state planning boards and commissions have not come out with any specific planning strategies
      In fact for big cities the plans have become outdated and do not reflect the concern of urban local dwellers. Now the planning needs to be decentralized and participatory to accommodate the needs of the urban dwellers.
      Also there is lack of human resource for undertaking planning on full scale. State planning departments and national planning institutions lack qualified planning professional. Need is to expand the scope of planners from physical to integrated planning- Land use, infrastructure, environmental sustainability, social inclusion, risk reduction, economic productivity and financial diversity.
    • Finances :Major challenge is of revenue generation with the ULBs. the states have not given enough autonomy to ULBs to generate revenues
      For financing urban projects, Municipal bonds are also famous, which work on the concept of pooled financing.
    • Regulator: There is exponential increase in the real estate, encroaching the agricultural lands. Also the rates are very high, which are not affordable and other irregularities are also in practice. For this, we need regulator, which can make level playing field and will be instrumental for affordable housing and checking corrupt practices in Real estate sector.
  • Infrastructural challanges
    • Housing :Housing provision for the growing urban population will be the biggest challenge before the government. The growing cost of houses comparison to the income of the urban middle class, has made it impossible for majority of lower income groups and are residing in congested accommodation and many of those are devoid of proper ventilation, lighting, water supply, sewage system, etc
    • Safe Drinking Water :The safe drinking water sources are also found to be contaminated because of water in the cities are inadequate and in the future, the expected population cannot be accommodated without a drastic improvement in the availability of water. The expenses on water treatment and reuse will grow manifold.
    • Sanitation:The drainage system in many unorganized colonies and slums are either not existing and if existing are in a bad shape and in bits resulting in blockage of waste water. This unsanitary conditions lead to diahorrea and malaria. Unsafe garbage disposal is one of the critical problem in urban areas and garbage management always remained a major challenge.
    • Health conditions:The important indicators of human development are educationand health. The health condition of urban poor in some areas are even more adverse compared to rural areas. As many as 20 million children in the developing countries are dying consequent to drinking water. About 6, 00,000 persons are losing their lives on account of indoor air pollution (Jagmohan, 2005).
    • Urban public transport:As high income individual are buying more private vehicle and use less public transport. Such huge number of vehicles in cities is causing more traffic jam, which in turn decreases the efficiency of public transport. Also the penetration of public transport is less, which make people use private vehicle. Public transport is less disabled friendly. There is also lack of infrastructure and poor maintenance of existing public transport infrastructure
  • Other challenges
    • Environmental concern: Vulnerability to risk posed by the increasing man-made and natural disasters. According to UNDP 70 % of Indian population is at risk to floods and 60% susceptible to earthquakes. The risk are higher in urban areas owing to density and overcrowding. Urban areas are becoming heat islands, ground water is not being recharged and water crisis is persistent. Here making, water harvesting compulsory will be beneficial
    • Urban Crime and security ( itself a hot topic for upsc so coverage in detail): Urban safety is not only about rape . There is no one to one correspondence between rapa and urban safety . Rape occurs everywhere and is not exclusive urban problem. Urban safety Is about every form of assault on individual ( acid attack , knifing , shooting , hit and run etc ).
      • Reasons behind declining urban safety :
        1. Decreasing community policing : There is today an increasing isolation of individual from community and decling shared concern about others. There is retreat to individualism. Sense of collective action is diminishing . People are becoming mere spectators on seeing any crime happening in front of them.
        2. Rising inequalities : Social power in hands of wealthy and politically influential , law twisted to favour the elite and lack of attention to public services
        3. Housing crisis and slums increased
        4. Increasing unemployment ( idle mind is devils workshop )
      • Remedies
        1. Plan cities as if women matters
        2. Currently our cities are male biased ( look at poor access for women to public toilets , women face harassment while using public transport , poor lightening on streets etc )
        3. Build cities that are inclusive
        4. Planned cities must include the issue of social cohesion . Where communities and societies are permitted to be divided , there one will find decline in individual safety
    • Poverty: Roughly a third of the urban population today lives below the poverty line. There are glaring disparities between haves and have-nots in urban areas. The most demanding of the urban challenges, unquestionably is the challenge posed by poverty; the challenge of reducing exploitation, relieving misery and creating more human condition for urban poor. The urban workers are increasingly being pushed into the informal sector and without any adequate activities in the cities were carried on in public places like footpaths, open empty spaces, parks or just in the streets. The plight of rickshaw pullers and street vendor is widely noted and commented upon. As the rural agriculture sectors is shrinking day by day the challenges before the urban sector to provide viable employment to migrating population will be a daunting task in the coming year.



  • ‘Kudumbshree’ model: It is social empowerment scheme, launched by the Government of Kerala in 1998 for wiping out absolute poverty from the State through concerted community action under the leadership of Local Self Governments, Kudumbashree is today one of the largest women-empowering projects in the country. The programme has 41 lakh members and covers more than 50% of the households in Kerala. Built around three critical components,micro credit entrepreneurship  and empowerment, the Kudumbashree initiative has today succeeded in addressing the basic needs of the less privileged women, thus providing them a more dignified life and a better future. Literal meaning of Kudumbashree is prosperity (shree) of family (Kudumbam).
  • Solid waste management in OKHLA: Timarpur Okhla Municipal Solid Waste Management project is the first commercial waste-to-energy facility in India that aims to convert one-third of the Delhi garbage into the much-needed electricity, enough to serving 6 lakh homes. It has become the first to get carbon credits from United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in the country in 2013.
  • Community policing for security
    • Community Policing for Students, adopting Student Police Cadet model of Kerala which is a school-based youth development initiative that trains high school students by inculcating in them respect for law, discipline, civic sense, empathy for vulnerable sections of society and resistance to social evils
    • The Kerala model, which is meant for all government, government-aided and private unaided schools, imparts training to students through various camps and classroom activities involving local police personnel who interact with them at regular intervals with instructions on certain dos and don’ts.
    • The concept of the community policing is aimed at associating citizens with the local police in solving neighbourhood problems in enforcing laws, preventing and detecting crimes, restoring order and peace in the area and reducing crimes against women and weaker sections.
    • Locating and reporting to the police about strangers and other persons of doubtful character, assisting local police in patrolling at night in crime prone areas, ensuring timely flow of crime related intelligence from the community to the police and ensuring communal harmony through collective efforts particularly during festivals, religious processions and public functions are some of the key functions of ‘community policing’.



India needs to work on several areas to manage its urbanization: The following are perhaps the most important: Inclusive cities, funding, planning, capacity building and low-income housing India also needs to start a political process where the urban issues are debated with evolution of meaningful solutions:




  • Inclusive Cities: The poor and lower income groups must be brought into the mainstream in cities. Regulations intended to manage densities and discourage migration both limit the supply of land and require many households to consume more land than they would choose. This drives urban sprawl and pushes up the price of land and the cost of service delivery for all. High standards for parking, coverage limits, setbacks, elevators, road widths, reservations for health centers schools etc. (often not used) prevent the poor from choosing how much to consume of the costliest resource (urban land) to put a roof over their heads, and comply with legal requirements.
  • Financing: Devolution has to be supported by more reforms in urban financing that will reduce cities’  dependence on the Centre and the states and unleash internal revenue sources. Consistent with most international examples, there are several sources of funding that Indian cities could tap into. For  example : Monetizing land assets; higher collection of property taxes, user charges that reflect costs; debt and public-private partnerships (PPPs); and central/state government funding. However, internal funding alone will not be enough, even in large cities. A portion has to come from the central and state governments.
  • Planning: India needs to make urban planning a central, respected function, investing in skilled peopleand innovative urban form. This can be done through a “cascaded” planning structure in which large cities have MASTER PLANS with 40-year and 20-year plans at the metropolitan level that are binding on municipal development plans. Central to planning in any city is the optimal allocation of space, especially land use and Floor Area Ratio (FAR) planning. Both should focus on linking public transportation with zoning for affordable houses for low-income groups. These plans need to be detailed, comprehensive, and enforceable.
  • Local capacity building: A real step-up in the capabilities and expertise of urban local bodies will be critical to devolution and improvement of service delivery. Reforms will have to address the development of professional managers for urban management functions, who are in short supply and will be required in large numbers. New innovative approaches will have to be explored to tap into the expertise available in the private and social sectors.





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