The rapid urbanisation in India

An important development of the India’s population scenario is the quic pace of urbanization. The urbanization trend was strong during the last decade (2001-2011) compared to the previous ones.

Urban population reached 31.16% of the total population as per census 2011; increased from 27% in 2001. A surprising development is that during the last decade (2001-2011), India added more urban population than rural population. From 2001 to 2011 the increase in rural population was 90.5 million while for the urban population it was 91.0 million. 

Table: Addition of population in rural and urban areas during 2001-2011

Area

2001

2011

Addition in population

Urban

28.6

37.7

9.1

Rural

74.3

83.3

9.0

Total all India

102.9

121.0

18.1

Source: Census of India

The surge in urban population was supported by an increase in million plus cities. There were just 35 urban agglomerations with more than 1 million population in 2001 and it almost expanded to 53 in 2011.

There is decrease in the growth rate of population in rural areas whereas there is increase in growth rate of population in urban areas. The table shows this trend of increasing urbanization in the country.

Table: growth rate and change in the growth rate of population in rural and urban areas

Area

1991-2001

2001-2011

Difference in growth rate

Urban

31.5

31.8

+0.3

Rural

18.1

12.2

-5.9

All India

21.5

17.6

-3.9

Source: compiled from census data.

The movement of people from rural to urban areas can result in greater production of goods and services, but it can also create congestion, pollution, and a greater demand for housing, clean water, sanitation facilities, recreation areas, public transport, health care and education. During the time of rapid migration to cities governments have to provide the necessary services. In India, the urban population is expected to rise steeply in the coming decades. As a necessary follow up of the present urbanization trend, the government has introduced two important programmes- smart cities and AMRUT, HRIDAY, etc., to raise the quality of urban infrastructure.