By Accommodation Times News Services
By Fazalahmed B. Khan
Ex- Deputy Secretary, Urban Development Department, Government of Maharashtra
According to the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India, India is in the midst of
transition from a predominantly rural to a quasi urban society. Urbanization in India has
become an important and irreversible process, and an important determinant of national
economic growth and poverty reduction.
Publication of Handbook of Urban Statistics 2016 by the Government of India, Ministry of
Urban Development is highly welcome. The Introduction of the Handbook acknowledges that
“at present, data on various aspects of urbanization is brought out by different agencies and
there is no compendium of statistics on urban development. It is imperative to have concrete
and reliable datasets to help formulate appropriate policies. However, non-availability of
authentic and reliable data in an easily accessible manner has often been one of the important
constraints to informed policy making and also for the researchers studying diverse aspects of
urban development in India. A need was, therefore, felt for a compilation of data related to
urban sector, which would also facilitate comparisons across various countries and across
States within India.”
A few features of this compiled volume are as under:
Urban Demography: Chapter 1 is on Urban Demography with a concise text, 15 tables and 12
graphs. Relevant figures of States and UTs are well tabulated. The level of urbanization in India
as a whole was 25.73% in 1991 which rose to 31.14 %, with an Annual Exponential Growth Rate
of 2.76% with reference to 2001. Comparative figures of BRICS are: Brazil (85.4%), Russian
Federation (73.9%), China (54%) and South Africa (64.3%). This bears out the statement of the
Ministry of Urban Development that India is in the midst of transition from a predominantly
rural to a quasi urban society. The number of Urban Agglomerations (UAs) rose from 374 in
1991 to 474 in 2011. Proportion of slums in urban population is an indicator of the failure of
urban and housing policies. As of 2011, Maharashtra leads the percentage of slum population
to total population with 18%, followed by Andhra Pradesh 16%. Punjab and Odisha have this
proportion as 2%. In absolute terms we have 65,494,604 persons living in slums (2011) not a
Socio-economic indicators of Urban India: These indicators broadly comprise education,
health, gender, poverty, housing amenities and other development indictors. Chapter 2 has 7
tables and 6 graphs with data taken from the Census India (2011) and the estimates of National
Sample Survey (NSS) 69 th Round in 2012. The position of access to electricity in urban India
stands at 97.7% of households. The figures of households with access to the source of drinking
water stand at 91.4% However, there are wide inter-State disparities with Chandigarh at the
top position of 99.4% as against the lowest level of Lakshadweep of 20%. Literacy rate in urban
India has shown an improvement from 73.08% in 1991 to 79.92% in 2011. Bias against girl child
had become a matter serious concern which necessitated passing the PCPNDT Act a penal law
to stop female infanticide. Sex ratio females per thousand males) in urban India which was 894
in 1991 showed improvement to 929 in 2011.
Urban Employment: Able hands need work. Employment generation is one the main challenges
for the policy makers. The figures of unemployment rates in urban areas showed decline as
overall unemployment rate declined from 5.2% in 1990-2000 to 3.8% in 2011-12. However,
unemployment among females showed to be higher. Unemployment rate stood at 3.2% for
urban males and 6.6% for females at all-India level for 2011-12. Tables and graphs show that
majority of urban males are employed in manufacturing sector (22.3%), followed by wholesale
and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles segment. Construction segment also
employed 10.7% of urban male. In case of females, 28.7% of workforce is employed in
manufacturing segment followed by education segment which incorporates 13.3% of urban
female workforce. The next major employer of urban female workforce is agriculture, forestry
and fishing (10.9%).
Public Expenditure on Urban Development: A hard fact is that expenditure on infrastructure
and civic amenities has not kept pace with increased urbanization. Handbook which provides an
overview of public expenditure on urban development Among the major States, Maharashtra,
Haryana and Tamil Nadu had a per capita NSDP of over Rs. 100,000 in 2013-14 as compared to
all-India per capita NSDP of Rs.74380 in 2013-14. Various studies on urbanization have
lamented low proportion of expenditure on urban development as a proportion of the
development expenditure and the total expenditure. Two tables in the Handbook cover this
issue and show that at all-India level in terms of revenue expenditure, the share of urban
development in development expenditure was 10.14% in 2009-10.
Urban Transportation: Cities need high level of mobility, and provision of public transport to
the desired extent has not been a success. Tables in Chapter 5 show the mode share, pattern of
public transport in select cities, public transport share comparison (1994 and 2007), desirable
modal shares for different city sizes, vehicular penetration in other countries, etc. Among large
cities, use of public transport ranges from 15% in Ahmedabad to 57% in Kolkata. Auto-rickshaw
considered to be intermediate public transport has also a prominent share in overall transport
in cities like Bangaluru (18%) and Mumbai (9%). The overall vehicle population has increased
from 0.3 million in 1951 to 141.8 million in 2011. The share of two-wheeler in total vehicles has
gone up from 8.8% in 1951 to 71.8% in 2011.
Urban Sanitation: Fundamentals of public health require sanitation and drainage system in a
city. Underground sewage disposal is a defining criterion of an urban area. However,
urbanization has come fast in India without commensurate progress in sanitation facilities.
Chapter 6 of the Handbook covers this vital aspect and the figures show where we are lacking.
Further tables show that in 2001 there were 26% households without latrine facility within the
house, which came down to 18.60% in 2011. Sanitation ranking of 476 cities as per the Swatchh
Bharat Mission is given in a table.
Urban Housing: A common feature in big cities in India is the acute lack of affordable housing
which has led to overcrowding in small houses, steady growth of slums and consequent ill
effects. Cities present a picture where rich, middle-class and poor occupy the city space of
varying sizes and quality. The broad information contained in the Tables in Chapter 7 is as
1) Total numbers of households in urban areas in 2001 were 53.7 millions which increased
to 78.9 million in 2011.
2) 35.11 % households in 2001 lived in one room house, which decreased to 32.13% in
3) Percentages of households not having any separate space or those that dwell in non-
exclusive room was 2.32 in 2001 which increased to 3.08 in 2011.
4) One-third of population has been using two-rooms in 2010-11 and 18.38 % households
in 2011 were having three room size dwellings.
5) 18% percent households in 2011 had 3 rooms dwelling, while 15.81% households had 4
6) Percentage of households living in good condition dwellings increased from 64.16% in
2001 to 68.44% in 2011.
7) In 2011 69.16% households stayed in owned dwellings while 27.55 % households stayed
in rented dwellings.
The Handbook also contains the following:
1) Directory of Urban Centres (Municipalities and other local authorities) in India with
population (2011). with latest population figures, which occupy 137 pages of the
Handbook in Annexure 1.
2) Urban Reforms ushered in through JNNURM.
3) Concise write-ups on three flagship schemes namely, Swatchh Bharat Mission, Smart
City Mission and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT).
The Handbook of Urban Statistics, 2016 is definitely a valuable document for the planners,
policy makers, real estate sector, administrators and researchers and students of urbanization.
The Ministry of Urban Development has done a commendable job by bringing out this
Handbook. F. B. Khan