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Focus on urbanization within India

Urbanization or the process of the development of cities is a relative term which varies from country to country. ‘urban’ being ‘non-rural’, that is, no agriculture, livestock and extractive industries, ‘urban area’ being ‘the area where residents derive substantial amounts of household income from non-rural economic activities focused on a particular town, city or group of cities; and ‘urbanization’ being ‘the process by which increasing proportion of a country’s people live within urban areas’ [1] . Ironically India is considered less urban as compared to many of the European countries but its acquaintance with urban settlements is extremely deep rooted.

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Urbanization is not a new concept for India. India has witnessed different phases of Urbanization since the Bronze Age. The first phase of urbanization began in the Indus valley where Harappan civilisations flourished between 2350 B.C. and 1500 B.C. Major towns of this civilization were Harappa, Mohenjordaro, Lothal, Surkotada, Rojdi (Gujarat), Kalibangan (Rajasthan), Banwali (Haryana) and Ropar (Punjab). Some of these towns are in Pakistan now. In the ancient period of Indian history many other towns flourished and declined at different points of time.

During the Vedic period in the north and the Dravidian age in the South this process of urbanization continued and cities like Hastinapur, Mathura, Ayodhya, Kapilavastu, Kusinagar, Vaishali, Patliputra, Varanasi, Rajgir, Champa, Ujjain, Mahishamati, Nagarjunakonda, Kancheepuram, Puhar, Uraiuyur, Madurai, Korkai and Vanji fourished. In the Mauryan and Gupta periods waves of urbanization gripped Indian subcontinent and then as the law of nature prescribes left the scattered remains that still attract our attention.

During the medieval period many other towns and big cities thrived and became cradle of art, culture and civilization. Making new cities with certain distinguished features was the passion that Delhi Sultans and mighty Mughal Badshahs nurtured on a grand scale. New capitals were made that still stand as the symbol of their lost glory. The cities which grew and flourished during this period are Ludhiana, Hisar, Bikaner, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Kota, Chittaurgarh, Moradabad, Agra, Jaunpur, Ahmedabad, Indore, Raipur, Aurdfcgabad, Ahmadnagar, Pune, Gulbarga, Bijapur, Vijaynagar, Hyderabad (Golcunda) and Mysore. Cities like Delhi which had a several phases of development and redevelopment till the time of British is a silent witness to the waves of urbanization that engrossed it from time to time. This practice of renovating the city of Delhi continued after Independence of India in 1947.

The British East India Company after its arrival contributed remarkably to the urbanization process by creating three metropolitan part cities of Mumbai (Bombay), Kolkata (Calcutta) & Chennai (Madras) and a chain of hill stations such as Shimla, Mussoori, Almora, Nainital, Darjeeling, Ooty, Kodaikanal, 85 many more. Besides, steps such as introduction of civil lines, cantonments, railways, modern industry and improvements in urban amnesties also strengthened the process of urbanization.

Urbanization in India has progressed at different paces due to different reasons. Under the colonial rule it was stagnated due to the oppressive policies of the British. After gaining independence urban population in India has increased fivefold. However, the pattern of urbanization and pace at different places imitates the diversity of the Indian population.


There are numerous factors, which might influence the urban structure of a country viz. history, topography, natural resources and climate etc. however, when it comes to explaining the location, size and growth of urban centers, economic factors turn out to be the most dominating ones. Historically, urbanization has been viewed as an important factor in the arena of economic change. Urbanization is intrinsically connected and irrevocably enlaced with the development process, as an essential strand in the contemporary economic system.

Urbanization is considered as an essential part of a stronger and more stable economy. It helps in improving the living standards the people living all over the world. Urbanization is regarded as synonymous with the economic development. The countries in the South Asia that urbanised most rapidly in the latter years of the 20th century are those with the most rapid economic growth [2] . Most of the world’s largest cities are in the world’s largest economies. Cities and towns also have important roles as centres of artistic, scientific and technological innovation, and of culture and education.

In the last half a century urban population in the world and specifically in Asia has increased leading to the conclusion that many people are getting diverted to non-agricultural works. Here is a table showing growth of urban population in the World, Asia and India:-

We can calculate the average annual growth rate of the urban population to do a comparative analysis of the process of Urbanization all over the world. Let’s have a look at the growth rate of urban development from 1970 to 2005.

It is clear that India is not lagging behind in the race of urbanization inspite of suffering under the colonial rule for almost three centuries. Moreover we have to consider the fact that India is largely an agricultural country where a huge section of the population is employed in cultivation. This factor not only ensures our self sufficiency in food production but also solve the problem of employment to a great extent.

Today India can boast of being emerged as a strong self sufficient nation even after suffering under the colonial rule for a long period. Not only India, but many other Asian countries have established themselves as strong independent nations that can not only sustain themselves but also supply valuable goods to the world. Although most of the Asian countries suffered under the colonial rule till the mid of the 20th century, in 1990, 17 of the 28 largest urban agglomerations in the world were located in Asia. Cities such as Beijing, Bombay, Calcutta, Jakarta, Seoul, Shanghai, Tianjin and Tokyo had a population of close to or above 10 million. Some of these cities even perform key functions in the global economy and are world class cities. China which is the fastest growing economy in the world has the capacity to surpass America and England in the near future. So also India which has registered GDP of more than 8 per year.

In the table given below we can get a fair idea how number of metropolitan cities has been increasing in the Asian countries which are classed as third world countries by the powerful European and American nations.

The United Nations estimates indicate that at mid 1990s, about 43 per cent of the world population lived in urban areas. With the urban population growing two and a half times faster than its rural counterpart, the level of urbanization is projected to cross the 50 per cent mark in 2005. United Nations projections further show that by 2025, more than three- fifth of the world population will live in urban areas (U. N. 1993).

According to Dr. Bhagat, there are three components of urban growth viz., the natural increase, net migration and the areal classification i.e., addition of new towns minus declassification of existing towns. Besides the extension of boundaries of towns also tend to influence the urban growth [3] . However urbanization is closely related to the agricultural surplus and industrialisation. Only when the agricultural system was capable of producing a surplus it was possible to divert labour for other activities. Thus, the size of urban population was directly related to the efficiency of agricultural production. Agricultural revolution facilitated more people per square miles than hunting and food gathering societies. Settled agricultural villages led to teleological advances, which further led to the process of urban development. Gordan Childe lists the features, which” define the urban revolution. They are: [4]

a) Permanent settlements in dense aggregations,

b) Non-agriculturists engaging in specialized functions,

c) Taxation and capital accumulation, Public buildings,

e) Trade and

f) The replacement of kinship by residence at the basis for membership in the community.

With the expansion in agricultural production labour can easily be directed towards other sectors of production viz. Non-agricultural vocations which lead to non-agrarian settlements. These settlements qualify to be called cities or urban areas. The expansion of non-agricultural activities comprise of industrial units. These units offer large number of vacancies which attract people to the cities leading to urbanisation. The urban growth rate is higher in agricultural states like Punjab and Haryana and states like Maharashtra and Karnataka as compared to rest of the country. The agricultural development, better farm productivity, rising farm income and limitation in absorption of labour force, all lead to urbanization [5] .

The three great socio-economic revolutions i.e. the industrial revolution, the agrarian revolution and the transport revolution, sparked off another great revolution, the Urban revolution. While the industrial revolution necessitated urbanization, the agrarian and transport revolutions facilitated it. The tremendous improvements in the agrarian section helped industrialization and urbanization by supplying raw material and food. Nevertheless, this was not sufficient for there has to be a satisfactory movement of men and material between the industrial centers and other places. Thus, the hinterland of an industrial urban center depended upon the efficiency of the transport system. Finally, large-scale industrialization resulted in large concentration of production facilities and people. [6]

Industrialization results in increased production and the increased production in turn leads to division of labour. The produce has to be transported from one place to another and put in the market. This requires means of transport, markets, godowns, shops etc. Therefore, wherever there is industrialization, a big labour force is needed. [7] In other words, industrialization is considered a very factor for urbanisation.

After 1991 India has followed a policy of economic liberalisation. With this Indian economy is increasingly becoming global. With the emergence of industrial passage, the new telecom technology, super highway development and internet exposure, the urban scene in India is going through radical transformation. New job opportunities are opening up in the cities. Multinational companies are opening their franchises in Indian cities creating lots of job vacancies for the Indian professionals. This phenomenon is bound to accelerate the urbanisation of some of the metropolitan cities. However, there is embedded shortcoming in the process itself. Arrival of MNCs as these multinational companies are called, will convert some of the Indian cities into Mega cities but it will not bring a boom of urbanisation in India. Only some of the cities which already have better infrastructure and amenities will benefit from them. Whether we should take it as a benefit or not is also controversial. Because concentration of these units in some cities will create problems of housing, transport, water and power supply sewage etc. As Dr. Bhagat predicts, small cities will remain neglected and they will not benefit from this rapid industrialisation. Therefore, it will not be correct to think that urban growth and rural to urban migration will accelerate in future [8] .


With only one tenth of her population classified as urban, India entered the twentieth country as under-urbanized. It was only after independence that urbanization started acquiring momentum. In absolute terms, there has been a phenomenon growth in urban population since Independence. Many of Indian urban cities are can compete with any of the cities in the world. Apart from four metropolitan cities viz. Delhi, Bombay or Mumbai, Calcutta or Kolkata and Madras or Chennai; many big cities like Hyderabad, Banglore, Ahmadabad, Hyderabad etc are attracting attention of international traders and entrepreneurs. During the period 1947-2001, urban population has increased from 50 Million to 285 Million i.e. 27.8 percent of India’s population lives in urban areas as per 2001 census.

The degree of urbanization in India has moved from nearly 11 percent in 1901 to about 30 percent in 2001 i.e. approximately trebling, while the absolute urban population has gone up from nearly 26 to 285 Million i.e. increasing by more than 11 times during that period. The tempo of urbanization had not been uniform across different censual decades rather it has recorded uneven momentum during 1901-2000. In India out of the total population of 1027 Million as of 1st March, 2001, about 742 Million live in rural areas and 285 Million in urban areas. The net addition of population in rural areas during 1991-2001 has been to the tune of 113 Million while in urban areas it is 6 Million. The percentage decadal growth of population in rural and urban areas during the decade is 17,9 and 31.2 percent respectively. The percentage of urban population to the total population of the country stands at27.8. The percentage of urban population to total population in the 1991 Census (including interpolated population of Jammu and Kashmir where Census could not be conducted in 1991) was 25.7 percent. Thus, there has been an increase on 2.1 percentage points in the proportion of urban population in the country during 1991-2001. [9]

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The Urban population of Haryana was 52.36 lacs in 2001 and is expected 83.43 lacs in 2011. At present the total population of the State is 207.64 lacs and 28% of it live in the Urban areas which is higher then the India total urban population. The number of municipal areas would therefore, increase tremendously requiring rural areas to be declared as municipal areas. [10]


Urban Planning and development, and provision of civic amenities such as water supply, and sewerage, prevention of pollution constitute some of the basic functions of urban local government. But our municipal institutions are alleged to be incapable of performing these functions. The state governments therefore constitute specialised agencies such as: (i) Improvement Trusts (ii) Housing Boards (iii) Water Supply & Sewerage Boards (v) Pollution-Control Boards to carry out these functions.

The specialized agencies or single purpose agencies are set up in addition to the existing urban local bodies to provide a specific service in their respective area. Their presence has been extremely beneficial and purposeful taking into account their contribution in urban development. The study of these specialised agencies, is highly essential to explore the possibilities of analysing their strengths and weaknesses to make them vital urban development institutions.


Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), a statutory body of Haryana Govt. was constituted under the Haryana Urban Development authority Act, 1977. The authority consists of a Chairman (Minister for Town & Country Planning and Urban Estates Deptt.), a Vice Chairman (Chief Secretary to Govt., Haryana), Chief Administrator and such other members (not more than 12 but not less than 6) appointed under notification issued from time to time provided that the number of non-official members shall not, at anytime exceed three. The HUDA has various wings, like Urban Branch, Engineering, Town Planning and Architecture, Financial, Legal and Monitoring. The Chief Administrator at the Head-. Quarters is the overall incharge and responsible for discharging functions of the Authority assisted by four zonal Administrators, posted at Panchkula, Faridabad, Gurgon, Hisar and one Administrator at H.Q. The Chief Administrator is guided by the polices framed by the Authority headed by the Minister- in-charge (designated as the Chairman of the Authority) of the Town & Country Planning Departments, under Section – 8 of the HUDA Act, 1977. [11]


The literature on urbanization is available in published and unpublished form. This includes public documents, government resolutions, reports of commissions and committees, contribution in specialized journals, papers presented at various national and international seminars and conference, reports of study teams sponsored by various research institutions both in India and abroad.

Datta has discussed the system of municipal organisation, municipal administrative processes, state- local relations, municipal finance, organizing and financing urban development, goals of urban planning, urban economic base, urban land values, urban housing, urban community development and grass-root politics as if prevailed in the Pre-74th Amendment period. [12]

Sachdeva has pointed out that urban governments have been decaying. Their performance in providing civic amenities has been dismal. Their supersessions have been rampant. Eminent academicians and seasoned administrators in their respective contributions to this compendium of articles on various facets of urban government have analysed the causes of this phenomenon, chief among these being their 19th century structure, erosion of their powers by multiplicity of special purpose agencies, financial scarcity, lack of adequately qualified personnel, political interference etc. They have also made valuable suggestions for restructuring, rejuvenating and revamping the urban Government for rendering them into effective instruments-for grass-root democracy and agencies for development and planning and provision of basic civic services. They all are of the view that the implementation of Constitution (74th Amendment Act 1992) in letter and spirit will hopefully achieve the desired objectives through its main provision of three tier municipal bodies, regular elections, independent state Election and Finance Commission, District Planning Committees etc. [13]

Goel and Dhaliwal discussed the existing, emerging and future problems faced by Urban local self government and come out with constructive suggestions, which can make the life of the people in the city enjoyable in all aspects. [14]

Ray in his book “A Short History of Calcutta” take up the city in legend, tradition and literature, from the British advent, inner structure of the fort, towns and suburbs, its population and the port, as well as its trade. However, the scope of these work is limited as far as the process of urbanization is concerned. They take up different aspects of urban history in isolation and do not cover the pattern and processes of urbanization in terms of variations over time. No attempt is made to underline these factors responsible for change either.

Grewal in her articles “The Pattern of Urbanization in the Punjab under Colonial Rule” and her doctoral thesis on Urbanization in the Punjab is one of the few works done on the subject of urbanization. Prior to this work the studies related to the region have largely been concerned with individual centers like Amritsar, Sirhind, Patiala and Faridkot and have remained essentially biographical and narrative and as such restricted in scope. This work is a comprehensive study in the urban pattern, urban demography, urban morphology, urban functions and urban government. The scope of this work, however, is limited to the developments in the Pre-Independence Punjab. [15]

Gosal’s two articles special reference to Punjab are of much relevance for our present study. In the first article the author studies spatial variations in the growth of urban population in each decade and the locational shifts in areas of urban development from decade to decade. [16] In the second article he establishes that the development in agriculture develops smaller towns while industrialization leads to the emergence of large cities or metropolitan areas. However, these studies touch the fringe of the problem of urbanization as these do not discuss in detail the urbanization process in all respects especially in southern region particularly, after the creation of Haryana. These also exclude the introduction of National Capital region scheme. The first article limits the study upto 1961 while the other goes upto 1981. [17]

K. Prabha in her book – Towns : “A Structural Analysis: A case study of Punjab”, find out measures to safeguard the urban dwellers from problems arising out of the growing population. It covers two important problems of the present Punjab state:

a) It analyses the structure through the dimensions of demographic, industrial and linkage analysis;

b) It identifies the hierarchy of Punjab towns. It analyses the town in area and the town as area.

Sharma in his Research work, Urban Development in the metropolitan Shadow: A case study of Haryana has taken up a study of urban development in the town of Rohtak and its evolution with special reference to its growth after independence due to the resettlement of displaced person from West Punjab and its overall effect on the economic, social and cultural life of the town and its surroundings. He highlights those aspects which have been generated by its location being in close neighbourhood of the swelling metropolis of Delhi. This study identifies the linkage that exists between Rohtak and its surrounding areas. However, its scope is limited as it leaves out the study of other such towns in the State of Haryana. [18]

Sinha’s Processes and Patterns of Urban Development: A case study of Haryana is an attempt at analyzing and determining the possible processes of urban development which have been responsible for the spatial pattern of urban settlement in Haryana. It concentrates on population study, urban- rural relations and the working population. It also presents an analysis of physical growth and functional morphological zones of select urban places in Haryana. This world does not co-relate the factors that influences the processes of urbanization and excludes a comparative study of the urbanization in Haryana and Punjab. It also ignores the capital region scheme and its impact on the process of urbanization in Haryana. [19]


The second chapter in this study will focus on the Urban policy and Legislation of HUDA. Here we will discuss about the fundamentals of the urban policy of the Indian union in general and Haryana in particular. The formation of HUDA in 1977 through Haryana Urban Development authority Act, 1977 will be discussed in detail.

The third chapter is the Organizational setup of HUDA where we will discuss the constitution of HUDA and the placement of different officials in different cadres. The actual physical set up of HUDA will be the focus of this chapter.

The Fourth chapter is Physical and financial performance of HUDA where we will discuss about the actual performance of HUDA in leading Haryana towards urbanisation.

The fifth chapter is Accountability of HUDA, where we will look at the responsibilities and liability of HUDA. Indian is a democratic country where all the governmental institutions are ultimately answerable to the public or the people of India if we want to use the constitutional term.

The sixth chapter consists of concluding remarks of the study and Suggestions regarding suitable measures to make Haryana Urban Development Authority more efficient and accountable institution for urban development.

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