ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Puzzle of Indian Urbanisation

In India, unlike other countries, migration started to decelerate when the urban population was well below a quarter of the total population. This principal puzzle contains within it other intriguing issues, including, for instance, why more Indians do not migrate voluntarily in response to the growing divergence in economic opportunities between rural and urban areas. There may be better explanations for our low migration rates than wage differentials.

A shorter version of this article was presented as the Eighth B G Kumar Memorial Lecture, Centre for Development Studies, Thiruvananthapuram, on 20 February 2017. It is based on research carried out in the International Growth Centre. The author gratefully acknowledges the valuable contribution of Vikas Dimble, and comments by Chinmay Tumbe.

This article is in the nature of a thought piece. It does not in and of itself attempt to provide answers to any of the issues it raises. Its principal objective is to outline certain features of India’s urbanisation experience that have intrigued me in the course of my work as an economist with the Government of India, and to which I have not found convincing answers. It is hoped that this article will pique the curiosity of experts and scholars, and provoke new empirical research.

The Primary Puzzle

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Updated On : 16th May, 2018
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