Urbanization in India

India will face an unprecedented scale of urbanisation – 350 million Indians will move to cities by 2030. This number is likely to double to 700 million by 2050.

  • This is 2.5 times the size of the US’s present population and (by 2050) will be the largest urban movement in the world.
  • This implies that every minute during the next 20 years, 30 Indians will leave rural India for settling in urban areas.
  • Management guru C K Prahalad had emphasised the imperative need for India to create 500 new cities to accommodate and provide a better quality life to its migrating people. Otherwise every existing city will become a slum when India becomes 75 in 2022.
  • GDPs of New York and Tokyo are at par with India’s GDP.
  • Not a single Indian city figures in the top 100 cities of the world. Mumbai ranks 114th and Delhi a dismal 214th .
  • In India, farming accounts for more than 58% of its workforce but accounts for only 14.2% of GDP.
  • Agriculture can sustain a growth rate of 3% while the Indian economy must grow at 9-10% to lift vast segments of its population above the poverty line.
  • No country in the world has grown on a sustained basis for long periods on the back of its agricultural sector. It is therefore inevitable that people will migrate from rural India to towns and cities.
  • India, like China, has been a reluctant urbaniser. India’s freedom movement and Gandhian worldview were rural development oriented with the village being a self-sustained economic unit. In post-Independence India the only cities we have created are the capital cities of Chandigarh and Gandhinagar.
  • The only major urban scheme India has launched in its entire planning process is the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission.
  • By 2020, India will be facing a housing shortage of 30 million dwelling units, 200 million water connections will be required, 350 million people will have to be given access to sewage, 160 GW of power generating capacity will have to be added and the number of vehicles on roads will increase fivefold.
  • There is, therefore, an overriding need to rejuvenate and revitalise India’s existing towns and cities and create new Greenfield cities. The cost of not doing anything will be enormous and would seriously retard India’s growth process. (summary of article published in ET)

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