Urbanisation, Some Stats, Important Developments, Jnnurm, Waste Management

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Some Sats

  • Census 2011 indicates that compared to 1363 in 2001, there are now 3893 census towns
  • There have been 2774 new census towns.
  • Census criteria for an urban area:
    • Minimum population of 5000
    • Density of 400 persons per sq km
    • At least 75 pc of the male working force in occupations other than agriculture
  • These are known as ‘census towns’ .
  • Apart from the above way of classifying urban areas, there exist ‘statutory towns’ Any area that comes under a corporation, municipality or town panchayat is automatically classified as urban and is defined as a ‘statutory town’
  • Apart from census towns, there is also another category called statutory towns There are towns which are declared to be urban under a state law, where a municipal or similar set-up is available.
  • As of now there are:
    • 139 municipal corporations
    • 1595 municipalities
    • 2108 nagar panchayats
  • Census 2011 has reported marginally higher growth rate of 2.76 % in urban population (1991 - 2001: 2.73 %) .
  • Around 31 % urbanisation in India.

Important Developments

  • Constitutional context: 74th amendment
  • To ensure a participative, functionally distinct and accountable structure of governance for urban areas

International Experience in Urban Governance

  • A two tier structure for the metropolitan area prevails in Mexico, Seoul and Greater London
  • Toronto has moved from a two-tier to a single tier system
  • Berlin has the status of a city state

A report on urbanisation in India by McKinsey claims

  • By 2030, India՚s urban population will be 600 million. That is double of the current population of US
  • 70 pc of new job creation will be in cities
  • 7400 kilometres of metrorail and subways will need to be created to address public transportation requirements


  • Has four components
    • Urban Infrastructure and Governance for 65 cities
    • Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns – covers 640 towns
    • Basic Services for Urban Poor – extends to all the 65 towns identified for UIG component
    • Integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme
  • The total project cost of all the 4 components was about 1 lakh crore out of which centre provided 50 pc assistance
  • Issues
    • A larger share of the funds (upto 95 pc) went to the already well developed cities and states
    • The allocation for the development of small cities was very less
    • There has been a disconnect between the various activities of the Mission and the urban local bodies. The involvement of ULBs has been marginal


  • Definition
    • UN-HABITAT: run down area of a city characterised by substandard housing and squalor and lacking in tenure security
  • One billion people worldwide live in slums.
    • The figure may go upto 2 bn in 2030
  • Characterised by high rates of poverty, illiteracy and unemployment
  • By 2030 India will have 41 pc of its population living in cities and towns compared to the present 28 pc.
  • Drinking water and sanitation are a problem
  • India՚s slum dwelling population rose from 27.9 million in 1981 to over 40 million in 2001
  • As per 2001 census, 640 towns spread over 26 states and UTs have reported existence of slums
    • Total slum population: 75.26 million
  • NSSO survey in 2002 identified 51,688 slums in urban areas of which 50.6 pc have been declared as ‘notified slums’ .
  • Govt Plans
    • 1972: Environmental Improvement of Urban Slums
    • 1996: National Slum Development Programme
    • 2005: JNNURM
    • 2008: Rajeev Awas Yojana
  • Reasons for the growth of slums
    • Migration: Lack of development of sustainable rural infrastructure and inadequate rural employment opportunities in rural areas
    • Unequal development of different regions in India
    • More labour force in unorganised sector

Waste Management

  • In India the last three years have seen hazardous waste import increased by 48 % . In 2009 6.4 million tonnes of hazardous waste came from the west to India and 5.9 million tonnes was produced domestically. Much of this waste was metal, electronics and plastics. They may have contaminated with lead, mercury and other toxins which can cause serious illness and environmental damage. The brass import increased by 60 % . Battery waste import doubled. Municipal ash import rose 70 times. Iron and stainless waste steel import increased by 40 % . Plastic waste import increased seven times.
  • The government is supposed to monitor the import of hazardous waste which enters India through a gap in the law that allows the import of waste for recycling. Most of the ports in India do not have radiation scanning technology. Workers processing hazardous waste use their eyes to tell the difference. Most of the waste enters through ports of Mumbai, Chennai, Calcutta, Cochin and Visakhapatnam.
  • Waste comes to distribution centers like West Delhi՚s Mundka and Mumbai՚s Dharavi before being taken away by different agents to specialty processing markets like Seelampur in Delhi. Agents sell the components to others who sell them to factories. The finished recycled products much cheaper than their branded counterparts are sold in the wholesale markets.
  • In New Delhi Seelampur is the biggest market for second hand electronic parts. But most of the shops here are not registered as legal recyclers which have deterred the entry of legal recyclers. The informal sector gets 95 % of the business as they do not pay the cost to meet the environment norms. When a court order shut down all plastics burning in Seelampur five years ago, the industry merely shifted 8 kms away.
  • India has a capacity to handle just 30 % of its domestic waste. India՚s capacity to treat hazardous waste is not growing at the same pace as waste generations. Although recycling industries are temporarily profitable; the damage to the environment is often permanent. Near Moradabad, the waters of the once – fertile Ramganga river have turned black with plastic ash. With no government control and little regard for the environment, the private waste-processing industry poses a threat to public safety in India.