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Q. Urban India: The country is more urban than we think. Discuss the statement with reference to census towns.
Jul 09, 2016 Related to : GS Paper-2

Ans :

In news- 

Recently urban development ministry had directed state governments to convert census towns to urban local bodies to allow for planned development and efficient service provision. Accordingly Maharashtra government has granted urban local body status to 19 census towns in the Pune region recently.


A Census Town is an area with urban characteristics like a minimum population of 5,000, at least 75% of the male main working force engaged in non-agricultural activities and population density of at least 400 persons per

Census towns are areas that are governed by village panchayats but are recognized by the census of India as being urban. According to the 2011 census, there are 3,894 census towns spread across states. The decision to convert census towns to statutory urban local bodies rests with state governments.

Why census towns need to convert in urban local bodies?

  • Census town are recognised as urban areas but these are governed by village panchayats, which has created host of problems in census towns like miscalculation of resources.
  • All these census towns have a weak relationship with income, poverty and population working in non-agricultural activities, all of which are thought to be correlates of urbanization. Hence administration requires urban approach.
  • The pace of development required to census towns is not possible by village panchayats governance due to various reasons. For example for planned and coordinated infrastructure development and enhancement of revenues, there is statutory requirement of urban local bodies.
  • For managing and developing urban area it requires laws and rules in the lines of urban areas and rules of panchayats won’t suffice. In many census tows due to unplanned construction and ad hoc provisioning of infrastructure resulted into unplanned development.
  • Converting census towns into Urban Local Bodies have lots of benefits like, Central assistance as per the guidelines of 14th Finance Commission.


Development of these census towns is not possible by rural style administration. Urbanisation in India in its rapid stage, hence India cannot afford ad-hoc and arbitrary based governance. There is huge requirement of infrastructure development and it requires urban approach in its governance. Hence state should convert these census towns into urban local bodies as early as possible.

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