Authentic Urban Statistics Now Available

1512667_477471949028237_1421155411_nBy 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

comfortable picture.

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

room dwellings.

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

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