Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Managing Urban India (III) (Why pace of urbanization is slow?)

Dr. Devendra K. Kothari
Population and Development Analyst
Forum for Population Action


No doubt, India is urbanizing, but very slowly. Some forty-year ago, I raised and analyzed this question in my doctoral dissertation – Patterns of Rural-Urban migration: A case study of Four Villages in Rajasthan, India. 1 Even today, it is a puzzling question. A recent paper, titled Urbanization, Demographic Transition and the Growth of cities in India, 1770-2020 by Chinmay Tumbe, gave some useful insights on this issue. 2

What explains the tepid growth in urbanization in India? It can be explained better by analyzing the four components of urban growth, namely (i) natural increase (births-deaths), (ii) net rural- urban migration, (iii) reclassification of rural settlements into urban, and (iv) expansion of boundaries of existing towns/cities. An assessment of their relative contributions is very important to understanding the dynamics of urban growth.

From Table 6, it is clear that natural increase has been the most prevalent source of urban population increase except in 2011 when inclusion of new towns and expansion of urban boundaries combined with net rural- urban migration have caused the maximum increase. There could be some role of international migration especially from Bangladesh in urban growth. The emergence of a large number of new towns in 2011 supports the emerging scenario. The number of towns at the national level increased from 5,161 to 7,935 – a net addition of 2,774 towns in 2011 compared to the 2001 Census.


Table 6: Disaggregation of total growth in urban population into components 1961-71, 1971-81 1981-91, 1991-01 and 2001-11
Components
1961-71*
1971-81*
1981-91*
1991-01*
2001-11**
1
2
3
4
5
6
Total Increase (Million)
30
50
58
68
92
Share of components (in per cent)
Natural Increase on base year population and on intercensal migrants
64.6
51.3
61.3
59.4
44.8
Net rural- urban migration
18.7
19.6
21.7
21.0
19.6
Population of new towns less declassified towns
13.8
14.8
9.4
6.2
25.8
Increase due to expansion in urban areas and merging of towns
2.9
14.2
7.6
13.0
9.8
Sources: * Kundu, A. (2007): Migration and Urbanisation in India in the context of the Goal of poverty Alleviation, The International Conference on “Policy Perspectives on Growth, Economic Structures and Poverty Reduction”, 7-9th June, 2007, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China. **. Computed by the author based on the data obtained from Census of India, 2011.

During doctoral research, I found that seasonal migration or semi-permanent nature of migration from rural areas is responsible for slow progression towards urbanization. Tumbe lists a similar reason “counter-intuitive”, which is responsible for holding back India’s urbanization speed. It is the freedom to keep on migrating from villages to cities and then back to villages which is acting as a fetter on speed of urbanization in India. He finds that migration from India’s rural areas has always had a gender bias and male workers leave their families in rural areas to look for employment opportunities in urban areas. As time passes, older cohorts go back to the villages to live with their families only to be replaced by younger ones. The process is facilitated by the important role of kinship ties in getting such jobs. Given the fact that there is neither any restriction on rural-urban movement of labour, nor is there adequate infrastructure for women migrant workers in cities, the net effect is a slowing down of India’s urbanization pace.

There has been a decline in the rate of migration to urban areas since 1981. Table 6 shows that the contribution of net rural-urban migration has gone down from 39 per cent in 1971-81 to 20 per cent in 200-11. This is really surprising in spite of rural poverty. Further, a majority of the population in the working age group of 15-59 years is residing in rural areas is alarming.

Lower increase in contribution of migration to rise in urban population suggests that there has not been enough additional space and opportunity in the cities to absorb or attract more rural population on a permanent basis.

Due to the increasing cost of living in large cities, the rural migrants have adopted a different strategy; in spite of migrating to the cities on the permanent basis, they have started commuting. A population is usually broken down into two categories—the residents, who permanently stay in an area for a considerable amount of time and are part of the official population count, and the floating types, who are in the area but do not live there permanently and are not considered part of the official census count. The incidence of floating population in form of commuting (daily and/or weekly) is very much in mega and million cities.

Half the people using public transport in Vasai Virar travel more than 20 km-one way. In Mumbai, around 31 per cent of commuters take train, while in all other cities bushes come next. Chennai and Bengaluru have a high proportion of two wheeler users. Such findings can be gleaned from a data set obtained from the Census 2011 on the mode of transport that “other workers”- those not engaged in household industry or agricultural occupations—use to commute daily to work and the distance they travel. 3

A survey conducted by the author in Jaipur in 2011 revealed that more than 125,000 people come to Jaipur in morning from nearby places for work and go back to their respective villages and/or towns in the evening. Among those 125,000 workers who do commute for work, the distances tend to be quite small. A half of commuters travel less than 10 kms on one way to work and another one forth travel between ten to twenty kms. And remaining of them has a commute over 20 kms. Over one-tenth of workers in Jaipur commute to work on foot, followed by cycle, moped or motorcycles and bus and train. Fewer than five per cent take cars or vans. 4

Planning in most cities does not take into account the realities of Indian commuting and that is one of main reasons, why our cities face transport, water and power and other problems.

It does not mean that role of permanent migration to urban areas is going to decrease further. Migration and in particular, net rural-urban migration, is expected to pick up speed in coming years with the onset of economic reforms and acceleration in economic growth as well as urban reforms.

People move into cities to seek economic opportunities. A major contributing factor is known as "rural flight". In rural areas, often on small family farms, it is difficult to improve one's standard of living beyond basic sustenance. Cities, in contrast, have strongly emerged as the prime engines of the Indian economy and generators of national wealth, the future is inescapably urban. In addition, an increase in agricultural productivity will push rural people to urban areas with better qualification.

A similar phenomenon was noted during my doctoral research. It was observed that there is a positive relationship between level of rural development and amount of rural-urban migration. In other words, rural development pushes people from rural areas to urban centres.5

With declining urban fertility (Table 7), and simultaneously increase in number of urban centres, it is predictable that the contribution of migration will increase in coming decades, especially when 70 per cent of working population age group in rural locations are looking out for opportunities.

Latest data suggests that urban fertility has fallen sharply in recent years and is already at the ‘replacement level’ needed to keep the population stable. Urban fertility is now at levels seen in developed countries and in some places among the lowest in the world.

In the 1970s, natural growth rates in urban and rural India were identical. Since then, they have dramatically diverged with rural natural growth rates currently standing substantially higher than urban natural growth rates. This is mainly due to higher birth rates in rural areas as death rates have converged between rural and urban settings.

Table 7: Trends in fertility 1971-2013
Year
Total Fertility Rate (number of children per woman)
Rural
urban
difference
`1
2
3
4
1971
5.4
4.1
1.3
1981
4.8
3.3
1.5
1991
3.9
2.7
1.2
2001
3.4
2.3
1.1
2011
2.7
1.7
0.8
2013
2.5
1.8
0.7
Source: Registrar General of India


As a result, the rural-urban migration is expected to pick up speed in coming years with the onset of economic reforms and acceleration in economic growth. In some countries, notably China and Indonesia, migration and reclassification has accounted for 70 to 80 percent of urban growth in the recent decades. The same could be seen in India in coming years.


The next post discusses: Urban problems and smart city concept.



1 Kothari, Devendra K. 1980. Patterns of Rural-Urban Migration: A case study of Four Villages in Rajasthan, India, Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis in Demography, The Australian National University Canberra, Australia. In this field-based study, rural-urban migrants were traced from the four villages to selected destinations like Mumbai, Ahmadabad, and Udaipur among others.
2 Tumbe, Chinmay. 2016. Urbanization, Demographic Transition and the Growth of Cities in India, 1870-2020, working paper, C35205-INC-1, International Growth Centre.
3 Refer at: http://www.thehindu.com/data/india-walks-to-work-census/article7874521.ece
4 Kothari Devendra. 2011. Increasing level of commuting in Jaipur city and its consequences, FPA Working Paper no. 13, Forum for Population Action, Jaipur.

5 Kothari, Devendra K. 1980. Patterns of Rural-Urban Migration: A case study of Four Villages in Rajasthan, India, Unpublished Ph.D. Thesis in Demography, The Australian National University Canberra, Australia

Friday, 2 June 2017

Managing Urban India (Part II) (Urbanization an over view)

Dr. Devendra K. Kothari
Population and Development Analyst
Forum for Population Action

Urbanization refers to the increasing number of people that live in urban areas; and urban refers to a geographic territory. In India, the definition of an urban center has remained unchanged since 1961 thereby facilitating comparison of census data over time. The Census of India defines urban areas as settlements with a local urban body (like municipality, corporation, cantonment board, etc.) and/or with a population of at least 5,000 people, density of at least 400 people per square km, and at least 75 per cent of the male main working population engaged in non-agricultural activities. All areas which are not categorized as urban area are classified as rural Area.

Rapid urbanization is a phrase used by many to describe the urban transformations taking place across India. However, this is far from the truth. While India has experienced rapid urban growth, its pace of urbanization has been abysmally slow. India’s urbanization rate or the proportion of people living in urban areas increased from 17.3 per cent in 1951 to 31.2 per cent in 2011 (Table 2). On the other hand, by the end of 2015, 55 per cent of the total population of China lived in urban areas, a dramatic increase from 12 per cent in 1950 and 26 per cent in 1990.

Table 2: Urban Population in India, 1901-2011
Census year
Total population
(in million)
Total rural population
(in million)
Total urban population
(in million)
Decadal net addition to the urban population
(In million)
Urban population as % of total pop.
Number of cities and towns
1
2
3
4

5
6
1901
238
213
26
-
10.8
1,830
1951
361
299
62
-
17.3
2,822
1961
439
360
79
17
18.0
2,334
1971
548
439
109
30
19.9
2,567
1981
683
524
160
51
23.3
3,347
1991
846
629
218
58
25.7
3,769
2001
1,027
742
285
67
27.8
5,161
2011
1,210
833
377
92
31.2
7,935
Source: Census of India, 2001


As per Census 2011, the total population of India at 0.00 hours of 1st March 2011 was 1210.2 MILLION. Of this, 833.1 million were residing in 6, 40,867 villages (rural population) and remaining 377.1 million were enumerated in 7,935 towns (urban population). Rural – Urban distribution was 68.8 per cent and 31.2 percent, respectively. During 2001-11, 183 million people were added to the total population. For the first time since Independence, the absolute increase in population was slightly more in urban areas that in rural areas: 92 million versus 91 million (Table 3). Uttar Pradesh had the largest rural population of 155.3 million (18.6% of the country’s rural population) whereas Maharashtra has the highest urban population of 50.8 million (13.5%) in the country. The current population of India is 1,339 million as on March 1, 2017, based on the latest United Nations estimates; and 32.8 per cent or 440 million its population is residing in urban areas.


Table 3: Population of India, 2001 and 2011

2001
2011
Difference
1
2
3
4
Total population in million
India
1029
1210
181
Rural
743
833
90
Urban
286
377
91
Growth rate of population in percent

1991-2001
2001-2011
Difference
India
21.5
17.6
-3.9
Rural
18.1
12.2
-5.9
Urban
31.5
31.8
+0.3
Source : Census of India 2011, Rural-urban Distribution of Population


Emerging North-South divide:
In Table 4 we have provided data showing the varying levels of urbanization across the states of India. NCT Delhi and small states (like Goa), nowhere has urbanization crossed 50 percent mark. Highest proportion of urban population was in NCT Delhi (97.5%) followed by Goa (62.2%) in 2011. Among the 17 major states of India, having population 25 million or more, Tamil Nadu topped the list of urbanized states with 48.4 per cent of its population living in urban areas, followed by Kerala (47.7%), Maharashtra (45.2%) and Gujarat (42.6%), as per the Census 2011. The lowest level of urbanization was recorded in Bihar (11.3%), closely followed by Assam (14. 1%) and, Orissa (16.7%). All the Four Large North Indian States or so-called BIMARU States recorded low level of urbanization. The urbanization rates for the southern states are now inching towards the 50 per cent mark while many of the northern states are still stuck at rates below 28 per cent (Table 4). 1

Table 4: ranking of major States having population of 25 million or more of India by level of urbanization, 2011.
State
Level of urbanization
(% of total population)
Population
(in Million)
Number of urban Centres including urban agglomerations with population one million and more



Urban
Total
Number
1
2
3
4
6
Tamil Nadu
48.4
34.9
72.1
4
Kerala
47.7
15.9
33.4
7
Maharashtra
45.2
50.8
112.4
6
Gujarat
42.6
25.7
60.4
4
Karnataka
38.6
23.6
61.1
1
Punjab
37.5
10.4
27.7
2
Haryana
35.0
8.8
25.3
1
Andhra Pradesh (Including Telangana)
33.5
28.3
84.7
3
West Bengal
32.0
29.1
91.3
2
INDIA
31.2
377.1
1,210.2
53
Madhya Pradesh
27.6
20.1
72.6
4
Rajasthan
24.9
17.1
68.6
3
Jharkhand
24.0
7.9
32.9
3
Chhattisgarh
23.2
5.9
25.5
2
Uttar Pradesh
22.3
44.5
199.6
7
Orissa
16.7
7.0
41.9
-
Assam
14.1
4.4
31.2
-
Bihar
11.3
11.7
103.8
1
Remaining 3 million cities or urban agglomerations are: NCT Delhi, Srinagar and Chandigarh.

Maharashtra was the most urbanized state in India till 1991, stood behind Tamil Nadu in 2001 and third after it in 2011, with Kerala being second, with the urban-total state population ratio. However, Maharashtra's urban population of 41 million, far exceeds that of Tamil Nadu which is at 27 million.

Urban concentration:
Table 5 shows the percentage of urban population by size class of cities in 2011. The pattern of urbanization in India is characterized by continuous concentration of population and activities in big cities. During the years, it is found that there has been a nonstop concentration of population in mega cities and decline in medium and small towns and cities. It is important to note that number of cities by size class has increased in all categories except class VI.

At the Census 2011 there are 7,933 cities and towns in the country. The number of towns has increased by 2,772 since last Census. Many of these towns are part of UAs (Urban Agglomerations) and the rest are statuary or independent towns. The total number of Urban Agglomerations/Towns, which constitutes the urban frame, is 6166 in the country.

The UAs/Towns which have at least 1, 00,000 persons as population are categorized as Class I cities. At the Census 2011, there were 496 such cities. The corresponding number in Census 2001 was 422. 264 million persons, constituting around 70 per cent of the total urban population, live in these cities. The proportion has increased considerable over the last Census. In the remaining classes of towns the growth has been nominal.

The Indian urban structure is ‘top heavy’. Each consecutive census is pointing towards greater concentration of urban population in class I cities. Of the 377 million individuals living in urban areas in 2011, 43 percent live in the cities or urban agglomerations with a population of over 1 million. The number of urban agglomerations or cities with a population of at least one million increased from 35 in 2001 to 53 in 2011. Uttar Pradesh and Kerala have 7 such cities each while Maharashtra has 6 such cities.

Among the 53 million cities, the three largest mega cities with a population of more than 10 million are Greater Mumbai UA (18.4 million), Delhi UA (16.3 million) and Kolkata UA (14.1 million). These are followed by Chennai UA (8.7 million), Bangalore UA (8.5 million), Hyderabad (7.7million), Ahmadabad (6.4million), Pune (5.1 million), Surat (4.6 million) and Jaipur (3.1 million). These ten cities contain 25 per cent of total urban population of India (99 million) in 2011.

The growth in population in the three mega cities with over 10 million has slowed down in the period 2001-11, showing declining attraction towards mega cities. While the population of Greater Mumbai UA grew at 30.47 percent in 1991-2001, it grew only at 12.05 percent in the period 2001-2011. The population growth of urban agglomeration of Delhi declined from 52.24 percent to 26.69 percent while in case of Kolkata UA it declined from 19.60 percent to 6.87 percent. In addition to these three mega cities, there are other million cities too which have witnessed a decline in the population growth and the reduction cannot be solely attributed to a decline in the fertility rate. It is interesting to note that the core areas of the mega cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and Kolkata show deceleration in their growth rates. These cities are losing the poor because they cannot afford to live there.

The picture regarding small and medium towns’ growth, having population leas than 100,000 is not clear, but there numbers have been increasing very fast. The number of such towns at the national level increased from 4739 to 7,437 – a net addition of 2,758 towns during 2001-11. Overall, the emerging form of urbanization, dominated by large number of medium and small towns, is good for a balanced urbanization. However, there is need for further studies to understand the growth pattern of small and medium towns in more detail.

Table 5: Distribution of urban centres by size, 2011
Class
Total Cities/Towns and difference

Percent of total towns 2011
Per cent of total urban population
2011
Total urban population
(in million)
2011
2001
(2)-(3)



1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Class I
496
422
74
6.2
70.0
263.9
Class II
600
504
96
7.6
8.1
30.5
Class III
1913
1396
517
24.1
11.7
44.1
Class IV
2237
1564
673
28.2
5.6
21.3
Class V
2188
1043
1145
27.6
3.1
11.5
Class VI
499
232
267
6.3
1.5
5.5








Total
7933
5161
2772
100.0
100.0
377.1
Source: Calculations based on Census of India data, 2001 and 2011

In short, the emerging form of urbanization is spatially distributed dominated by large number of medium and small towns. 2

The next post discusses: Why pace of urbanization is slow?









[1] Source: Worldometers (www.Worldometers.info). Also see: http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/india-population/

[2] Kundu (2011) gives a useful account of the history of urbanization in India in the colonial and post period. For derails see at: https://www.uniassignment.com/essay-samples/economics/reasons-for-urban-concentration-in-india-economics-essay.php


Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Managing Urban India (I)

Dr. Devendra K. Kothari
Population and Development Analyst
Forum for Population Action

The city has long been exiled from the Indian imagination. The romance of the 'village republic' for India's politicians and the strong association of urban India with the British raj doomed the city in independent India.
Nandan Nilekani

Urbanization is the societal trend where the proportion of people living in cities increases while the proportion of people living in the country side diminishes. For the first time in history more than half the world’s population resides in urban areas. The world’s urban population now stands at 3.7 billion people, and this number is expected to double by 2050. The coming decades will, therefore, bring further profound changes to the size and spatial distribution of the global population. Presently, the highest rates of economic growth are being witnessed in Asia, especially in China and India, which today also have the largest rural populations, but are urbanizing. Of the 10 most populous countries of the world, 6 are in Asia and all these are witnessing high rates of the growth in their urban population (Table 1).

Table 1: Level of urbanization among the 10 most populous countries of the world
Country
Percent of urban population to total

1950
2000
2015
2050
China
12.5
35.8
55
76
India
17.3
29.0
33
50
USA
64.2
77.2
81
87
Brazil
36.5
81.2
85
91
Indonesia
12.4
41. 0
53
51
Nigeria
10.1
44.1
47
67
Pakistan
17.5
33.1
38
57
Mexico
42.7
74.4
79
86
Japan
50.3
78.8
93
98
Bangladesh
4.3
25. 0
34
56
World
30
47
54
85
United Nations. 1980. Patterns of Urban and Rural Population Growth. Population Studies No. 68. United Nations. 2014.  World Urbanization Prospects.

But, the picture of India is not very clear. In the last century, which saw rapid urbanization across the globe, India did not face an “urban explosion” as did many other regions of the world, especially in the Americas and East Asia. Consistent with its low per capita income India ranks among the last thirty in the list of countries listed according to their urbanization levels. Out of the 10 most populous countries, India recorded the lowest level of urbanization in 2015 (Table 1).

One can argue that the policy makers and some experts treat cities in step motherly fashion believing that India continues to reside in its villages. This overlooks the fact that today 440 million people (2017) live in India’s cities towns. By 2030, this number will be 583 million and by 2050, 814 million. It means by the middle of this century nearly half of India’s population will reside in urban areas . [1]

The trend towards urbanization is only accelerating.[2] Also, projections, made by me, indicate that India would achieve ‘the tipping point’ of 50 per cent urban before 2045. Thus, India is projected to be more ‘urban’ even before the next 20 years. In other words, the move towards urban concentration is a fact, and as city life becomes a reality for an ever-greater share of India’s population, governments, and civil society must recognize that they are largely unequipped to deal with city-level problems. If not well managed, this inevitable increase in India’s urban population will place enormous stress on the system. India’s cities are now facing serious issues including housing problems, waste disposal, and power shortage among others.

So, it is unchangeable fact that the India of tomorrow will find expression in the cities. What we can question and hence change is how that future will be lived. It is time we start a new conversation. That means Indian cities need to become more livable and productive. While the government’s proposed smart cities project looks to ameliorate the situation, it would not make much of a difference unless cities are actually empowered to chart their own destinies. Most Indian cities today are reeling under problems of infrastructure collapse because of lack of planning and poor management. The underlying cause very clearly is absence of a robust local governance structure and its accountability to public.

Is not it high time we build our future cities? The paper aims in this direction. It is an attempt to understand, through secondary data and analysis, where India stands today in terms of urban development, why it has emerged the way it has and what should be done in next 5 to 10 years  to  make urban living  more livable and productive.

In doing so, the following four posts’ discussion will help the policy makers in taking forward the newly launched Missions, namely, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Smart Cities Mission, Swatch Bharat Mission and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation in a bid towards building a vibrant and inclusive urban India.

The next post discusses Urbanization an overview: 







[1] Source: Worldometers (www.Worldometers.info). Also see: http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/india-population/

[2] Kundu (2011) gives a useful account of the history of urbanization in India in the colonial and post period. For derails see at: https://www.uniassignment.com/essay-samples/economics/reasons-for-urban-concentration-in-india-economics-essay.php