Urbanization Notes For UPSC

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  • Process of becoming urban—moving to cities, from agri to other pursuits & corresponding changes of behavior patterns.
  • 2018 World Urbanization Prospects— India’s urban pop will rise to 52.8% in 2050. 
  • Oxford Economics report—Indian cities will make up 17/20 most fastest-growing cities in world b/w 2019 & 2035

Attributes of Urbanisation

  • Economic—Industrial, service sector, Trade & commerce, Gig economy
  • Political—Democrartisation, HRs awareness, Social media etc
  • Social—
    • S-E mobility, ↑ opp
    • ↑ Women Status— ↑ Edu, liberal, Independent  & Rights assertion (-ves—> ↓ wages, Trafficking + prostitution)
    • ↓ Caste rigidities
    • “Melting pot”, Cosmopolitanism


  • Proliferation of Slums→
    • Diseases, social tensions, Poor WASH
    • UN centre for Human Settlements (UNCHS)—Concept of “Housing Poverty”
  • Overcrowding & Urban sprawl → ↑ pressure on infra & resources

Solutions—Ring towns, satellite towns, counter magnets

  • Other social issues—
    • Unemployment, Child labour, Beggary
    • Lack of social security, ↑ inequalities
    • Urban Crimes—Trafficking, sexual assault, Juvenile Delinquincy
  • Infra Bottlenecks
  • Env issues—Energy crisis, Pollution, Climate change, UHI, Disasters
    • Water Insecurity— ADB forecast India will have a water deficit of 50% by 2030.
  • Transportation Problem→ congestion
  • Equity Issues: Unplanned urbanization in India has led to gentrification (as per upper and middle socio-economic class) of city centres and lower income groups are forced to live in peripheral suburbs
  • Issues in Urban Governance—
    • Not Constituted MPC— were envisaged as agency for integrated plan­ning
    • Weak municipal capacities + lack of 3Fs

Steps taken

  • Urban Infra + ↑ Ease of living—
    • SMART city—Dev core infra & + App of ‘Smart’ Solutions.
    • AMRUT—Transform urban living conditions through infra upgradation & provisioning of civic amenities
    • PMAY (U)— Housing for all by 2022
    • HRIDAY— Preserve & revitalize heritage cities— ↑ tourism
  • Urban Transport
    • National Urban Transport Policy— To ensure safe, affordable, reliable & sustainable P.T
  • Sustainable Urbanization
    • National Mission on Sustainable Habitat—↑ energy efficiency through ECBC, solid & liquid waste mgt etc
    • RURBAN—Bridge R-U divide to check Migration + de burdening urban areas 
    • Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework (CSCAF) 2.0—Roadmap for climate-sensitive approach to urban planning  
  • Governance steps—  Ease of Living Index, MPI
  • Urban Livelihood
    • DAY-NULM
    • PM SVANidhi scheme for street vendors
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Way Forward:

  • Env way forward—
    • Climate-centric Urban planning— Green Mobility
    • ↑ green cover—Afforestation (Nagar van scheme)
    • Concept of “Sponge cities”
  • Urban Planning—
    • Integrated City Planning—Based on models like TOD, scientific waste mgt
    • Sewarage Mgt—Need of Blue-green infra—”sustainable urban drainage systems
    • Waste Mgt—Timarpur Okhla Municipal Solid Waste mgt is 1st commercial waste-to-energy facility— got carbon credits from UNFCCC
  • Governance reforms—
    • Fiscal decentralization, municipal bonds
    • ↑ 3Fs in ULBs
    • Leverage data analytics
  • Social Infra
    • Public Health system— Delhi model of Mohalla clinics
    • Food & nutrition, Clean drinking water
    • Rent Control
  • Assured wage employment like MGNREGA
    • Himachal model—MM Shahri Ajeevika Guarantee Yojana—120 days of guaranteed wage employment
  • NITI Aayog:
    • Raise funds by municipal bonds.
    • Est Waste to Energy Corp of India to spread use of Waste to Energy plants
    • Encourage vehicle-sharing systems such as Ola and Uber.
  • 2nd ARC—
    • PPP for collection & disposal of garbage
    • Est Urban Transport Authorities, for coordinated planning & implementation of urban transport
  • Reduce distress migration—
    • Create employment in rural areas:—MGNREGA
    • Infra facilities in rural areas: PURA & RURBAN 
  • Green, Sustainable, Resilient & low-carbon infra
  • Explore new concepts–
    • “24 hour city”
    • Night time economy—Promoting Entertainment activities etc for vibrant night life + increasing economic yields
    • Congestion pricing—To disincentivise Pvt vehicles

Urban Transport

Problems faced by Urban Transport

  1. Inadequate Public Transport—China has 6 bus/1000 but India has 4/10000
  2. Urban Vehicular Pollution
  3. Urban Congestion—Overcrowding in public transport
  4. Road safety- Traffic injuries & fatality
  5. Equity Issues
  6. Mobility for women—Safety

Govt steps for Urban Transport

  1. JNNURM-To improve public transport in larger cities
  2. National Urban Transport Policy, 2006–For safe, affordable, reliable & sustainable urban transport through multi-modal public transport systems.
  3. Green Urban Transport Scheme, 2016–Improve non-motorised transport
  4. Mass Rapid Transit/ Transport Systems (MRTS)
  5. Bus Rapid Transport System (BRTS)
  6. National ToD Policy, 2017–To promote living close to mass urban transit corridors
  7. Promotion of EVs–FAME scheme
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NITI Aayog Recommendations:

  • Calls for a 3C Framework (Clean, Convenient and Congestion free) for transforming mobility in India–To achieve this, it lays down action-agenda:
  1. Connect Bharat– Through Safe, Adequate & Holistic Infra (SAHI) 
  2. Promote Seamless Public Transport:
  3. Data-driven planning & urban transport
  4. Focus on multi-modal systems
  5. Adoption of EVs & non-motorized transport

International Best Practices:

  • Singapore:
  • Mexico- Right to Mobility law
  • Ahmedabad BRTS Corridor–Advanced Vehicle Tracking System, Automatic Fare Collection System.
  • New models
  1. Metro Neo—Mass rapid transit system providing low-cost, energy-efficient & eco-friendly urban transport solutions for tier 2 & tier 3 cities
  2. Metrolite— Light Urban Rail Transit System On lines of metro rail—with lesser capacity at much less cost


  • C-40 cities Summit
  • Cities shd take lead for mitigating C.C
  • Kolkata awarded for green mobility. 
  • Ajay Maken vs UOI—Idea of “Right to the City” was invoked—means to uphold rights of slum dwellers.

Key word 

  • Chaotic urban dev
  • Magnets of economic growth
  • Economies of agglomeration 
  • Inclusive & Sustainable urbanization
  • To make Cities ‘truly smart’ & more efficient. Cities r Key for India’s transition to “New India”
    • Values all people & their needs equally.
    • All residents including  have a rep voice in Gov, planning
    • All have access to sustainable livelihoods, affordable basic services-WASH, electric
    • Safe and affordable housing
  • Global Livability Index 2019– by EIU


  • UN-Habitat identify 5 criteria of living condition  that households in slums usually lack—
  1. Durable housing of a permanent nature
  2. Sufficient living space
  3. Easy access to safe water
  4. Access to adequate sanitation
  5. Security of tenure

Why is there a rise in Slum?

  • Migration is not incorporated in urban policies
  • Inequalities— Cities divided into centre & Fringes / Periphery
  • Lack of affordable housing
  • Ghettoisation—Sub culture of poverty  
  • Social backwardness forces people to live in congested areas away from main areas. 
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  • Villages & suburbs serve cities as tributaries to river, with streams of people coming to eventually settle down & become a part of this urbanisation.
  • “Urbanisation can be prevented from turning ugly not by keeping people away from cities but by taking cities to where people already live.”—This needs a holistic approach of developing urban & rural India in a mutually-symbiotic manner.
  • Both in terms of physical & social infra—Healthcare, education, ICT, and employment.
  • De-stress the cities & let them bring world-class infra, amenities, and ease of living to their people.
  • Need for complementing public amenities for marginalised city dwellers + in rural regions with quality, affordable services leading to a reverse migration in a positive sense. 
  • It is imperative that the country moves from being a “reluctant urbaniser” to one that embraces urbanisation as a transformative force that can deliver an improved quality of life for all its citizens.