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Report Report

State of the Cities India

India’s urban transition has, of late, acquired multiple narratives. It is said to be rapid, moderate, slow, messy, and hidden. What underpins such multiple narratives is the central theme of the study, State of the Cities: India. Making use of an analytical framework that permits an examination of the shifts in the pace and pattern of India’s urbanisation over a period of time, this study takes an in-depth look at the evidence on three of its key dimensions: the demographics, the economy, and the status of infrastructure and the environment. Some of the key questions that this study seeks responses to are: Is India’s in the post-libarlisation period any different? Does it show the effect of the changes in the macroeconomic parameters of the post-1991 period? Is it more or less productive and inclusive and environmentally secure? Is it spatially more equal or unequal? Does it in any way signal an inflection point in India's urban transition? Drawing from the analysis of the evidence comparable over time, the study spotlights several interesting questions: what would, for example, explain the acceleration in the pace of urbanisation under conditions of low economic growth and its moderation under conditions of high economic growth? What factors would explain a fall in the rate of growth in the urban share of gross domestic product (GDP) at such a low level of urbanisation, especially the GDP accruing from the manufacturing sector? This study makes a strong case for evidence-based assessment of India’s urban transition, rather than to continue to commit, as many of us do, to the long-held, but specious narrative that India is in the midst of rapid urbanisation.