Slum rehabilitation projects, like Rajiv Awas Yojana, should not be shifted to the peripheries with no room for livelihood

Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) is a major flagship programme of the UPA-II government that projects a vision of a slum-free India. It promises to make urban poor families realise their dreams of owning a house with full land title and access to basic amenities. However, its announcement raised diverse expectations. The actors in housing and real estate sector saw it as a programme giving a boost to the land market and creating business opportunity. Banking agencies anticipated huge inflow of subsidies and state support in the name of affordable housing. Urban upper and middle classes hoped that slums that are being perceived as a threat to their safety would disappear either through upgradation or eviction. Unquestioningly, RAY became a darling of everyone, despite conflicting interests.

The 2011 Census has reported a marginally higher growth in the urban population, yet it also reports a phenomenal increase of 2,774 new “census towns” – greater than the number of such new towns identified in all of the 20th century. Could this be the result of some kind of census activism working under pressure to report a higher pace of urbanisation? Since the Census of India has a reputation for rigour, it is imperative that the methodology for identification of new towns and possible changes from the past are made public.

The paper attempts a stock taking of urbanization in the post colonial period in India and critically examines the scenarios projected by international and national agencies.

This paper overviews the debate on the relationship between the measures of globalization, economic growth and pace of urbanization, and speculates on its impact on the quality of life and poverty in the context of Asian countries. After experiencing
moderate to high urban growth for three to four decades since the 1950s, most of these countries have reported a significant deceleration.

Studies on internal migration are constrained by the fact that no international organisation systematically collects or tabulates even the basic demographic information on internal migration in a cross-sectionally and temporally comparable manner. Researchers have surprisingly concluded that internal migration within Asian countries is high and increasing over time.