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Ashok Kotwal
On demonetisation
Posted on: 23 Dec 2016
On the evening of 8 November, the Prime Minister announced on national television that Rs. ... read on »
Introduction to e-Symposium: The GDP conundrum
Posted on: 16 Nov 2016
Ever since India’s Central Statistical Organisation came out with the new GDP series with ... read on »
Introduction to e-Symposium: The idea of a universal basic income in the Indian context
Posted on: 26 Sep 2016
The idea of an unconditional basic income given to all citizens by the State, has caught o ... read on »
Debate: The Aadhaar Bill
Posted on: 02 May 2016
In a debate on the Aadhaar Bill, commentators from academia and civil society will ... read on »

Topic: Urbanisation

India’s slum leaders - II
Adam Auerbach , Tariq Thachil
Posted on: 21/07/2017 09:40:15

The second part of the two-part column on slum leaders discusses who these leaders are - their age, professions, and relationships with political parties - and how they build support within their communities.
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India’s slum leaders - I
Adam Auerbach , Tariq Thachil
Posted on: 20/07/2017 09:33:01

India’s demographic shift to cities has been accompanied by a number of pressing governance and developmental challenges, among the most serious of which is the rampant spread of slum settlements. Within these poor urban neighbourhoods, certain residents rise to prominent positions of local authority. Based on resident and leader surveys conducted during 2015-2016 in Jaipur and Bhopal, this two-part column provides insights on these informal slum leaders.

The first part focusses on the range of activities slum leaders perform for residents, and the ways in which leaders emerge from within their communities.

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Financing Indian cities
Nandan Sharalaya
Posted on: 12/07/2017 10:50:31
Topics:   Finance , Urbanisation
Tags:   cities


Indian cities are fund-starved and unprepared to handle the stresses of rapid urbanisation in the country. Urban local bodies and municipal corporations, particularly in tier-2 and tier-3 cities, do not have the necessary autonomy or capacity to raise revenue. In this article, Nandan Sharalaya discusses options available to the government for financing cities, above and beyond the traditional model of public-private partnerships.
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The puzzle of Indian urbanisation
Pronab Sen
Posted on: 12/04/2017 09:33:34
Topics:   Urbanisation
Tags:   migration


The global experience has been that as countries develop, rural-to-urban migration accelerates, and decelerates only when the urbanisation level is very high – usually well over 50%. In contrast, migration in India began decelerating when urbanisation was below 25%. In the article, Pronab Sen deconstructs this puzzle.
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Constructing housing for the poor without destroying their communities
Rohini Pande
Posted on: 24/03/2017 09:29:00

The Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana aims to achieve housing for all by 2022. However, vacancy of 23% was reported last year in urban housing built under the programme. In this article, Rohini Pande, contends that take-up can be increased if policies are designed in a way that allows the intended beneficiaries to preserve their social networks when they relocate.
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The North-South urban paradox
Chinmay Tumbe
Posted on: 22/03/2017 09:37:30
Topics:   Urbanisation


Why is northern India experiencing faster urban growth but slower urbanisation relative to the South? This column addresses this question by highlighting the interconnection between the demographic transition and urban processes in India.
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Moving towards better definitions of ‘urban’ in India
Komal Hiranandani , Mudit Kapoor , Vaidehi Tandel
Posted on: 15/09/2016 09:55:01
Topics:   Urbanisation


According to the 2011 Census, 31% of the country is ‘urban’. Using definitions of urbanisation that are different from those used by the government, this column demonstrates that this figure may be an underestimate. It is important to recognise and fix the flaws in the current method of defining urban areas as it forms the basis for important policies such as eligibility for government schemes.
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Driving restrictions in Delhi: Real benefits and warning signs
Gabriel Kreindler
Posted on: 15/06/2016 09:16:42

The driving restrictions policy that Delhi experimented with in January was implemented for a second time in April for a fortnight. This column finds that the policy lowered traffic congestion; the impact was notable in size and consistent over the two rounds. However, drivers managed to partly circumvent the policy legally, and the policy caused some disruption to economic activity.
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Driving Delhi: The impact of driving restrictions on driver behaviour
Gabriel Kreindler , Jasmine Shah
Posted on: 08/02/2016 09:46:31

In an attempt to address Delhi’s grave pollution problem, the state government experimented with a driving restrictions policy for a fortnight in January. Based on a phone survey of a sample of 614 drivers in the city, this column describes how the policy changed drivers’ behaviour in terms of labour supply, number of daily trips, travel modes, and satisfaction, between restricted and unrestricted days while the policy was in effect.
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Data-jam: Could data reduce road congestion in Dhaka?
Filippo Sebastio
Posted on: 01/02/2016 09:51:22
Topics:   Urbanisation


While urbanisation is key to economic growth, failure to address the downsides of the process - such as congestion - may deter the ability of cities to achieve their full growth potential. This column examines the challenges of road congestion in Dhaka, and explores the potential for traffic data to uncover evidenced-based policy designs that can effectively mitigate the problem.
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India’s energy efficiency
Ejaz Ghani , Arti Grover Goswami , William Kerr
Posted on: 10/11/2015 04:11:25

India is the fourth largest energy consumer in the world but is not well endowed with energy resources, making efficiency in energy use very important. This column analyses the spatial dynamics of electricity usage in India’s manufacturing sector. Such an understanding can help in defining a more focused and targeted energy policy.
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One step forward, one step back? Ahmedabad’s evolving urban policy
Tanvi Bhatkal
Posted on: 02/11/2015 09:59:08
Topics:   Urbanisation
Tags:   Gujarat


India’s urbanisation process has come to be characterised by haphazard growth of cities, the costs of which are borne disproportionately by the poor. This column analyses Ahmedabad’s urban policy over the past two decades and the impact on slum dwellers. While the city’s urbanisation process has traditionally been a rewarding collaboration between the local government and civil society, recent changes present a challenge to this legacy.
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Making the best out of waste
Sourabh Bhattacharjee , Ujjwal Kumar Sinha
Posted on: 24/04/2015 00:00:00

Given rapid urbanisation and the increasing amounts of solid waste generated in India cities, there is a pressing need for effective waste management processes. In this article, Sourabh Bhattacharjee and Ujjwal Sinha, who have been associated with a successful waste management project in Saharanpur, provide an outline of the project and highlight lessons for other Indian cities.
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Enhancing women’s participation in water governance
Priyam Das
Posted on: 25/02/2015 00:00:00
Topics:   Gender , Urbanisation


Women’s participation has become a key theme in water and sanitation projects. However, projects that have made provisions for women’s participation have yielded mixed results in terms of the quality of their participation. This column analyses community-managed urban water supply projects in Madhya Pradesh to understand the gap between women’s motivation to participate and their ability to do so, and what can be done to close the gap.
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Solar power for street vendors? Lessons from an experiment in Bihar
David Szakonyi , Johannes Urpelainen
Posted on: 06/02/2015 00:00:00

Rapid urbanisation in developing countries is aggravating the issue of insufficient access to energy for basic needs such as lighting. This column discusses lessons from an experiment in Bihar wherein street vendors were provided solar-powered lights, the batteries of which were charged at centralised stations installed in urban marketplaces. Based on problems encountered in terms of the mode and cost of operation, it suggests that the provision of electric grid connections, with stand-alone solar lights as backup, may be a better approach.
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The ‘urban sprawl’ and declining rural-urban inequality
Viktoria Hnatkovska , Amartya Lahiri
Posted on: 29/09/2014 00:00:00

India has experienced rapid urbanisation in the past three decades. Has urbanisation impacted the economic wellbeing of rural and urban workers? This column finds that the rural-urban wage gap has shrunk dramatically over this period. This is largely explained by the process of ‘urban sprawl’, which involves assimilation of rural areas into adjoining urban areas, and the resulting relative increase in urban labour supply.
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India on the move: The commuting worker
S. Chandrasekhar , Ajay Sharma
Posted on: 10/09/2014 00:00:00
Tags:   transport


About 25 million workers in India commute daily for work, from rural to urban areas or vice versa, or have no fixed place of work. This column finds that rural households with at least one rural-to-urban commuting worker are better off than those with no commuting workers. It makes a case for shifting the focus of labour mobility discussions from migration to commuting.
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Growing through cities in India
Ejaz Ghani , William Kerr , Ishani Tewari
Posted on: 20/06/2014 00:00:00

Do cities grow through specialisation or diversity? This column measures specialisation and diversity for the manufacturing and services sectors in India. It finds that Indian districts with a broader set of industries exhibit greater employment growth. This is particularly true for low population densities, rural areas and unorganised sector, reflecting knowledge flow and the inclusive nature of employment growth due to diversity.
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A unique, informal banking system of rickshaw drivers in cities
Garima Agarwal , Shashank Bhatt , Skand Goel , Arushi Kaushik
Posted on: 04/06/2014 00:00:00
Topics:   Urbanisation


Seasonal, rural migrants that drive rickshaws in cities have little or no access to formal financial institutions. Based on a survey of over 100 rickshaw drivers in Delhi, this article highlights a unique mechanism used by the drivers for remitting earnings to their families back in villages, obtaining short-term loans, and managing their savings.
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Open defecation in cities: A faltering India story
Meera Mehta , Dinesh Mehta
Posted on: 23/04/2014 00:00:00
Topics:   Health , Urbanisation


Despite significant public investment in urban sanitation, over 37 million people in Indian cities resort to open defecation. This column examines the existing information on open defecation in urban India, and finds that the most important determinant is access to on-premise toilets. Local government leadership, targeted and smart subsidies, stakeholder collaboration and innovative financing options can help increase such access and accelerate elimination of the problem.
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What makes cities more competitive in India?
Ejaz Ghani , William Kerr , Stephen D O'Connell
Posted on: 07/03/2014 00:00:00
Topics:   Urbanisation


Policymakers in both developed and developing countries want to make cities more competitive, attract new entrepreneurs, boost economic growth, and promote job creation. This column shows that the two most consistent factors that bring entrepreneurs in manufacturing and services to a district in India are its education and quality of local physical infrastructure.
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India’s spatial disparities: Have big cities become too congested?
Klaus Desmet , Ejaz Ghani , Stephen D O'Connell , Esteban Rossi-Hansberg
Posted on: 17/01/2014 00:00:00
Topics:   Urbanisation


A key driver of the Indian economy is its rapidly growing service sector. This column compares the spatial growth pattern of the sector in India and other countries. It is found that while in US and Europe, the service sector is becoming increasing concentrated in medium-sized locations, high-density locations in India such as Mumbai and Chennai continue to attract more service sector jobs, causing congestion.
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JNNURM and environmental sustainability
Kavita Wankhade
Posted on: 30/09/2013 00:00:00

The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission was launched in 2005 as India’s urban flagship programme to close investment gaps in urban infrastructure, and to implement reforms for better urban management. This column assesses the extent to which sustainability concerns are addressed by the programme, and makes recommendations in this regard.
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Electricity demand in urban Indian households: Influencing consumer behaviour
Anant Sudarshan
Posted on: 08/04/2013 00:00:00
Tags:   electricity


The huge and fast growing urban middle class of India uses a significant amount of electricity at their homes. This column argues that there is a need to focus on managing demand of electricity, and demonstrates how social norms can be used to encourage households to consume less electricity.
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Is India’s manufacturing sector moving out of cities?
Ejaz Ghani , Arti Grover Goswami , William Kerr
Posted on: 15/02/2013 00:00:00
Topics:   Urbanisation


While urbanisation is moving ahead at a rapid pace in India, industrialisation has slowed down. What explains this disconnect between urbanisation and infrastructure? This column presents results of a study that suggests that the formal manufacturing sector is moving from urban to rural locations, and the informal sector is moving from rural to urban locations.
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