Urbanisation of Modern India

Topics: Urban area, Town, City Pages: 2 (551 words) Published: March 28, 2012
An inescapable and only too visible trend is the rapid urbanisation of India. Existing cities are growing rapidly (and haphazardly) in all directions, those that cannot (like Mumbai) are growing vertically, and many villages now resemble towns. Current estimates of “urban” population are in excess of 300 million, and likely to reach 600 million by 2030. As a share of total population, urban dwellers will comprise more than 40% of total population as against less than 30% today. You might quibble about whether it will be 590 m. or 600 m or 650 million, but the fact remains that urban population will close to double in less than two decades. Much has been written on this subject, largely focused on the issue as one of impending crisis. Infrastructure is already falling apart, cities have no funds of their own, we do not have the institutions nor capabilities to manage our cities, slums will dominate and lead to social unrest, and so on. No doubt this is all true, and we need to focus our immediate attention on how to create cities that are worth living in. Having said that, abysmal infrastructure and miserable governance in our cities will not stop them from growing. There will not be near enough jobs in rural areas, and we will see millions of new (and young) residents in our cities and towns. Without detracting from the scale of the problem, let’s try to look at the brighter side. Regardless of the state of infrastructure, a doubling of urban dwellers will transform the Indian economy. Fundamentally, the reason cities attract migrants is that they provide jobs, which eventually lead to spending power. Further, the change in lifestyle (as compared to rural citizens) will drive demand for numerous products and services. The biggest opportunity is likely to be in low-cost housing. These new urban Indians will need homes, but will be unable to afford the current (inflated) prices. If businesses can find a way to sell decent homes at affordable prices, there is a huge...
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