Urbanization, Problems and Their Remedies

Urbanization, Problems and Their Remedies

General Studies, IAS EXAM, IAS toppers, UPSC exam

Urbanization,Problems and Their Remedies

Urbanization,their problems and their remedies is part of UPSC MAINS syllabus in General studies paper 1.This includes history of urbanization,Standard definition,Role of Five year plans in urbanization,Major causes of urbanization,Problems of urbanization and their remedies.If you need a particular notes like this mail us at [email protected]

Urbanization, Problems and Their Remedies


1. History

From the development of the earliest cities in Mesopotamia and Egypt until the 18th century, an equilibrium existed between the vast majority of the population who engaged in subsistence agriculture in a rural context, and small centres of populations in the towns where economic activity consisted primarily of trade at markets and manufactures on a small scale. Due to the primitive and relatively stagnant state of agriculture throughout this period the ratio of rural to urban population remained at a fixed equilibrium.

With the onset of the agricultural and industrial revolution in the late 18th century this relationship was finally broken and an unprecedented growth in urban population took place over the course of the 19th century, both through continued migration from the countryside and due to the tremendous demographic expansion that occurred at that time. In England, the urban population jumped from 17% in 1801 to 72% in 1891 (for other countries the figure was: 37% in France, 41% in Prussia and 28% in the United States).

Urbanization rapidly spread across the Western world and, since the 1950s, it has begun to take hold in the developing world as well. At the turn of the 20th century, just 15% of the world population lived in cities. According to the UN the year 2007 witnessed the turning point when more than 50% of the world population were living in cities, for the first time in human history.

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2. Urbanization Definition:

Any places having municipality, corporation, cantonment board or notified town area committee.All the other places which satisfy following criteria :

  1. A minimum population of 5000 persons ;

  2. At least 75 % of male main working population engaged in non-agricultural pursuits ; and

  3. A density of population of at least 400 persons per square kilometer.

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3.Urbanization & Five year plans

Urbanization was focused in 5 year plans since independence.

FIVE YEAR PLANFOCUS/Achievements Emphasis
1 and 2 FYP

Institution and organization building

same was instructed to the states to do.


3rd FYP

Regional approach to urban planning.

Importance of towns and cities in balanced regional development

Need for urban land regulation, Monitoring activities,checking of urban land prices, preparation of master plan,, etc.

4th FYPDevelopment plans for 72 urban areasRegional studies around metropolitan cities.
5th FYPEstablished:

  1. Mumbai metropolitan region development authority (MMRDA) in 1974

  2. Housing and urban development cooperation in 1975

Urban land ceiling act was passed in 1976

Urban and industrial decentralization

6th FYPLaunched:

  1. scheme of Integrated development of Small and Medium towns(IDSMT)

Need to develop small and medium sized towns (< 1 lakh)

7th FYP

National commission on urbanization submitted its report.

65th constitutional amendment was introduced in Lok Sabha.

First attempt to give constitutional status to urban local bodies with three tier federal structure.

8th FYP
  • Strengthen the basic infrastructure.
  • 65th constitutional amendment passed.
  • Introduced the Mega city scheme.
  • Revamped IDSMT scheme.

Covering five mega cities of Mumbai, Calcutta, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad

Boosting employment generation for diverting migration from big cities to the small and medium towns.

9th FYPLaunched:

  • Swarna jayanti Shahari Rozgar yojna (SJSRY)

Decentralization and financial autonomy of urban local bodies.

10th FYP

Urbanization played a key role in accelerating the economic growth in 1980s and 1990s as a result of the economic liberalization

Without strengthening the urban local bodies,the goal of urbanization cannot be achieved.

11th FYP

Inovative changes through capacity building, increasing the efficiency and productivity of the cities.

Dismantling the monopoly of public sector over urban infrastructure, using technology as a tool for rapid urbanization.

12th FYP

To consolidate JNNURM and envisaged its wider role in urban reforms.

Urban infrastructure governance(UIG)

Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY)

4. Major causes of urbanization:

  • The Industrial Revolution.

  • Expansion in government services, as a result of the Second World War

  • Urbanization is mainly a product of demographic explosion and poverty induced rural – urban migration.

  • Migration of people during the partition of India

  • Infrastructure facilities in the urban areas

  • Growth of private sector after 1990.

  • Mechanization of agriculture

  • Distress migration

  • Social infrastructure like hospitals, educational institutions.

4.1 Economic effects of Indian Urbanization

  • Economic opportunities are just one reason people move into cities.

  • Growth in GDP

  • Lopsided development.

  • Slum creation and urban poverty

  • Increased economic disparities

  • Inflationary trends

4.2 Sociological effects of Indian Urbanization

  • Increased crime and violence

  • Much powerful Drug and liquor mafia

  • Gradual cultural shift, Westranization (Joint family to nuclear families)(Saree to jeans)

4.3 Health effects

  • Lifestyle related diseases like Obesity, diabetes etc..

  • Under nutrition but overweight.

  • Stress.

  • More prevalence of chronic diseases.

  • Wide spread communicable diseases.

4.4 Environmental effects

  • Increased pollution and formation of heat islands.

  • Dwindling green vegetation.

  • Increased stress on land due to concentrated constructions.

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5. Problems of Urbanization

5.1 Economic problems of Urbanization

  • Migrant workers are involved with is the growth of slums.

  • Normally, the rural-urban low skilled or unskilled migrant workers, attracted by economic opportunities in urban areas, cannot find a job and afford housing in cities and have to dwell in slums.

  • Most of the urban poor in developing countries spend their lives in insecure, poorly paid jobs.

5.2 Garbage Collection and Disposal

  • Garbage collection services are inadequate or non-existent in most residential areas of developing cities; an estimated 30-50% of the solid waste generated within urban centres is left uncollected.

5.3 Environmental problems

Urban heat island is formed when industrial and urban areas are developed resulting in greater production and retention of heat.

  • A large proportion of solar energy that affects rural areas is consumed by the evaporating water from vegetation and soil.

  • In cities, where there is less vegetation and exposed soil, the majority of the sun’s energy is absorbed by urban structures and asphalt.

Vehicles and factories release additional city heat, as do industrial and domestic heating and cooling units. As a result, cities are often 1.8 to 5.4 °F (1 to 3 °C) warmer than surrounding landscapes

  • Impacts also include reducing soil moisture and a reduction in re-uptake of carbon dioxide emissions.

5.4 Increased stress on agricultural land:

  • In July 2013 a report was issued by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, however warns that with the additional 2.4 billion people by 2050, the amount of food produced will have to increase by 70 percent straining food resources, especially in countries already facing food insecurity due to changing environmental conditions.

5.5 Noise Pollution:

  • In the city the main causes of traffic noise are the motors, tyres, and exhaust systems of automobiles, trucks, buses, and motorcycles.

  • To this ,the sounds of compressors and drills used in road and construction work, railroad engines, horns, whistles and aircraft..etc are added up

5.6 Road Accidents:

  • Every hour 55 accidents & 17 deaths are occuring as per latest reports.

  • The number of motor vehicles relative to the population, is generally much lower, the available statistics suggest a higher number of road fatalities relative to the number of vehicles.

  • Two-thirds of the accidents involve pedestrians, most of whom are children

5.7 Health problems

  • Rapid urbanization has brought increased mortality from non-communicable diseases associated with lifestyle, including cancer and heart disease.
  • Differences in mortality from contagious diseases vary depending on the particular disease.

While urbanization is associated with improvements in public hygiene, sanitation and access to health care (not is India), it also entails changes in occupational, dietary and exercise patterns.

  • BMI (Body mass index) and cholesterol levels increase sharply with national income and the degree of urbanization.

Easier access to non-traditional foods may lead to less healthy dietary patterns.In India prevalence of diabetes in urban areas appears to be more than twice as high as in rural areas.In general, major risk factors for chronic diseases are more prevalent in urban environments.

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6. Remedies for Urbanization:-

  • Rapid Mass Transport (RMT) for better transportation system.

  • Reform of the urban water sector.

  • Efficient use of urban land.

  • Long term strategic urban planning with the overall regional planning perspective.

  • The environmental sustainability of urban development.

  • Investment in new urban infrastructure assets and maintenance of assets.

  • Need to strengthen urban governance

  • To strengthen the ‘soft infrastructure’

  • Improvements of urban utilities such as water and sewerage NUHM (National Urban Health Mission) for better urban public health.

  • Need to fulfill the basic needs of the urban poor.

  • Smart city concept if implemented effectively

  • Provision of Urban Amenities to Rural Areas (PURA)

This involves:

1. Increasing the capacity of local governments to act and invest and to work with local populations in identifying local problems and devising the most appropriate local solutions.

2. Changing or adjusting building and planning codes and norms so that they support and encourage local action that is health promoting and does not lead to environmental degradation.

3. Developing new ways for government agencies to work with community organizations to ensure that a basic infrastructure and basic services are provided and maintained and that provision for health care meets the most pressing needs.

A major programme promoting such new approaches is the Global Strategy for Shelter to the year 2000, developed by the United Nations Centre of Human Settlements and adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1988.



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