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

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Census Towns in Uttar Pradesh

Understanding the Transformation of Rural Economy into Urban Economy

An understanding of the emergence of new census towns, as reported by the 2011 Census, necessitates an investigation, specifically at a micro level, into the factors behind the shift of the male working population from the farm sector to the non-farm sector. The emergence of census towns at an all-India level and the history of census towns in Uttar Pradesh are examined. Census towns in selected districts of UP have been analysed to comprehend the trends and patterns of urbanisation resulting from the transformation of rural areas into urban settlements. A case study of Soraon, a census town in Allahabad district of UP, has also been undertaken to further understand the urbanisation process along the rural–urban continuum.

This paper is the outcome of a research project funded by the Indian Council of Social Science Research. The author is grateful to the anonymous reviewer for providing suggestions to improve this paper.

The reclassification of rural areas into urban areas, as reported by the 2011 Census, on the basis of specified criteria, has contributed substantially to the overall urban growth in India. The number of census towns increased phenomenally from 1,362 in 2001 to 3,894 in 2011. Of the 2,774 new towns reported by the 2011 Census, 2,532 were new census towns and 242 were statutory towns. A statutory town is an urban area which is established by a state or central law and is governed by urban local bodies (ULBs). A census town on the other hand is an area which is not administered as a town but possesses the following urban characteristics: a minimum population of 5,000, at least 75% of the male main working population in the town engaged in non-agricultural activities, and a population density of at least 400 persons per square kilometre (km2).

Urban development in India depends substantially on the pattern of emergence of these new urban centres. Small towns can be instrumental in improving the rural–urban linkage and enhance market-based agricultural activity. Further, they promote non-farm employment. Planned urban development requires conversion of census towns into statutory urban local bodies (ULBs). As per the guidelines of Fourteenth Finance Commission, the conversion of census towns into statutory ULBs entitles states to central assistance. In 2016, the states were asked by the Ministry of Urban Development to take immediate and necessary action to convert census towns into statutory ULBs (PIB 2016). Generally, states are reluctant to notify census towns as statutory towns since granting the former ULB status requires funds for infrastructure development. This has led to the haphazard growth of emerging urban centres, and these lack the facilities and services which are present in statutory towns governed by ULBs.

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Updated On : 16th Aug, 2019
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