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Urbanization: it’s happening, can we cope?

Urbanization: it’s happening, can we cope?
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First Published: Mon, Jul 18 2011. 10 41 AM IST

Updated: Mon, Jul 18 2011. 10 41 AM IST
Last week, the census commissioner released the second round of data, which showed that the move towards towns and cities received a fresh impetus in the decade ended 2011, as a result of which the country achieved a laudable milestone: a little under one in three Indians now lives in areas classified as urban, reversing a lull apparent in the previous two decades.
This is something to be welcomed as in many ways it is a crude measure of development (another matter though how this urbanization is taking place) of the economy.
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• Edit | One-third and increasing
If the 2011 census data is to be believed, more than one-third of Indians, close to 377 million out of 1.2 billion, now live in urban areas, however defined—metropolises, cities, or towns. This is a big change since the days of “India lives in its villages”. It’s also time for a careful reappreciation and change in the rural bias in policymaking.
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• Mark to Market | The surprises in the urbanization numbers
Which parts of the country are urbanizing most rapidly? The 2011 census numbers show that Kerala’s urban population has gone up from 26% of its total population in 2001 to 47.7% in 2011, a growth of 21.7 percentage points. That’s the highest percentage difference between the urban populations of 2001 and 2011 for any state. The result is rather surprising, because Kerala hasn’t seen exceptionally high levels of industrialization or, indeed, of economic growth during the last decade.
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• Fresh thrust to urbanization
India’s Census 2011 shows that one in every three Indians now lives in an urban habitat and that the move towards towns and cities has happened mostly in south India, contiguously from Maharashtra to Tamil Nadu.
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First Published: Mon, Jul 18 2011. 10 41 AM IST