Column: 2,532 new towns or 2,532 new Dharavis
Population growth in urban India far outstripped that of rural areas, 32% and 12%, respectively. The share of urban population rose from 28.81% in 2001 to 31.16% in 2011. There was negative growth in the rural population in many states, like Kerala, Sikkim and Nagaland. Amongst the big states, Andhra Pradesh added the least number of people to its villages, up just 1.64% in the last decade, compared to a stupendous 36.26% population growth in her cities.
Growing urbanisation is a sign of a developing economy, pointing to a whittling down of the populace’s dependence on the primary sector—agriculture and allied activities—and a move towards more remunerative livelihoods in manufacturing and services, the mainstay of an urban economy. Why, even a large part of India’s rural economy now, almost 60%, is led by informal industry and services, with agriculture accounting for only 40% of rural GDP, according to research by the National Council for Applied Economic Research.
In fact, between 2001 and 2011, India added more towns—2,774—as against 2,279 villages. And this is where the picture starts getting bleak. Of the 2,774 new towns that emerged in the last decade, under a tenth, or 242, were statutory towns—ones with a formal municipality, corporation, cantonment board or notified town area committee. And as many as 2,532 are classified as census towns
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