In this Livemint Article, Vaidehi Tandel and Komal Hiranandani, Senior Associates at IDFC Institute welcome the govenment's decision to recognise census towns as statutory towns. They present their detailed analysis which stresses the need to identify India as an increasingly urbanising country. Read key excerpts below:
"Using the census definition, India is 31% urban. But we found that if we apply Ghana’s definition of urban, India is 47% urban, and if we apply Mexico’s definition, India is 65% urban. The differences in urbanization rates are even starker at a subnational level. For instance, Kerala is an anomaly and goes from being around 16% urban as per the administrative definition to over 99% urban using Ghana’s and Mexico’s definitions... This desire to stay rural may stem out of perceived advantages that are enjoyed by rural areas, such as access to funding through rural development schemes or lower taxes. However, these advantages may not necessarily exist. In our study, we investigated whether areas that are urban in nature but governed by panchayats make disproportionately more use of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, but found no evidence to support this conjecture. Thus, while staying rural may not confer the benefits some imagine they will receive, the real losers from the state governments’ actions are the de facto urban areas that are deprived of the benefits of planned development and amenities and services provided to officially urban settlements."
You can read the entire article here