India’s urban issues due to its population

by maxdesy on October 5, 2017 - 11:23am

In his article, Mr. Krishnamurthy tells us about India’s urban population growth and how it brings many issues for Indian cities to deal with. Indeed, from 2001 to 2011, the urban population increased by 91 million. As of right now, more than 377 million Indians live in urban areas. This urban growth is explained by the author due to the fact that, because agriculture and related activities were the sole occupation available for people in rural areas and land being a limited resource, as the population grew, land could not support any further addition to the labour force in rural areas. Thus, people started migrating to urban areas (in particular to the major cities like Bombay and Delhi,) seeking for employment. As a result, a lot of pressure was put on available public utilities and facilities in the cities.

As the author explains, many problems were brought by this overwhelming urbanization, which often worsened the already existing inequalities between rich and poor.  Of the most critical from the author’s point of view is housing. Indeed, because there are so many people but not enough space, slums (which are illegal houses built on public spaces) are developing in India by the poorest. These illegal colonies do not have any civic amenities like drinking water, sewage, electricity etc, and there is often mafia involved. The thing that happens is that, while these slums are first built away from the cities, the growing of these cities soon reaches the slums, making them a part of the cities. When that happens, these slums are often destroyed to build luxury apartments, and the slum dwellers are resettled. To solve this problem, the author suggests that the slums be cleared and modest housing apartment buildings built to accommodate all the slum dwellers, so that they are not resettled.

In my opinion, Mr. Krishnamurthy’s solution to the housing problems is a good one for sure, although it does not solve the problem entirely. Indeed, while it may adjust the problem that the poor people won’t live in illegal slums anymore, I think it does not focus enough on the main issue: the overwhelming urbanization Indian cities experience. Indeed, as the author himself said, there are no more places for new people in rural areas since there is only so much land, so people’s only choice to find a job is to move into cities. Even if the government could pay to develop modest housing apartment buildings for the new dwellers indefinitely, there are still the problems concerning access to public utilities such as healthcare for example which can’t serve everybody. Thus, only the wealthiest may have access to these services, so social inequalities between rich and poor will still increase. In my mind, a solution would be to develop a law like China to limit families to only one or two kids to decrease the population flux for some time. While it may look a bit radical at first, let’s not remember that if this urbanization keeps going on, cities may crumble due to too much people. By slowing down the growth of population a bit for some time, the Indian government could buy itself some time to adapt their cities to its great population and solve the actual social problems.

 

Link to article: https://www.fairobserver.com/region/central_south_asia/problems-urban-india/

Comments

Nice work! A good summary! I decided to comment your summary because I believe the social problems in India that your summary describes are relevant and significant to the entire world, since the issues that Indian people face today may appear in other developing countries later. As we know, just like China, India is also a developing country with huge amount of population. Therefore, it also faces the common social problems that are inevitable for a country with huge population. One of these problems, is the pressure given by overwhelming urbanization on national infrastructures.

I agree with your point of view in the discussion section, which states that one solution for this issue is the one-child policy, and by doing so, the increasing population will start to slow down, and the government will have the opportunities to improve the national infrastructures. However, one-child policy will also negatively impact the society by destabilize the sex ratio among population, which may cause further social issues. As we know, China once applied one-child policy before, “According to three recent waves of population censuses in China, the sex ratio at birth has drastically increased from 108.5 in 1982 to 113.8 in 1990 and 119.9 in 2000, deviating far from the biologically stable range of 103 to 107” (Li, Yi & Zhang, 2011).

Furthermore, I totally disagree with author’s suggestions. Since India has a huge amount of poor people and slums, building modest housing apartments for all the slum dwellers is not realistic. This will be a super-expensive project since the country must spend a lot of money to build these buildings. Unlike developed countries, such a huge amount of capital is hardly affordable for most developing countries. Therefore, instead of building new houses for slum dwellers, Indian government should focus on macroscopical economic development, which is the only effective approach to solve the problems of overwhelming urbanization.

Reference: Li, Hongbin., Yi, Junjian., & Zhang, Junsen. (2011). Estimating the Effect of the One-Child Policy on the Sex Ratio Imbalance in China: Identification Based on the Difference-in-Differences. Demography, 48(4), 1535-1557. doi: 10.1007/s13524-011-0055-y.

Hi Maxence,
I find the focus of your article extremely relevant: overpopulation. We are constantly reminded of this phenomenon everywhere we go, whether we get stuck in traffic or loose ourselves walking among masses of people downtown. However, we only think of overpopulation as its extremes in places like China or India and rarely do we realize that this affects us in our urban environment.
I strongly agree with you that the government’s focus should be on reducing the rate at which the population increases and provide adequate services. Indeed, in the present situation, “not a single Indian city processes 100% of its sewage” (Shah, 2015, p.438). In fact, “only three cities have capacity to treat more than 70% of their sewage” (Shah, 2015, p.438) in India and tests have shown that the treatment used to purify water is ineffective (Shah, 2015, p.438).
Thus, the government’s attention should be shifted towards covering basic needs properly instead of displacing poor slum dwellers.

Works Cited

Shah, R. V. "Decentralized Water Treatment - Citizens Tracking Results and Impact." Water Practice and Technology, vol. 10, no. 3, 2015, pp. 438-444, SciTech Premium Collection, https://proquest-crc.proxy.ccsr.qc.ca/docview/1930979003?accountid=44391, doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.2166/wpt.2015.048.

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