Urbanization in India for UPPSC Mains Exam

By Nitin Singhal|Updated : February 11th, 2021

Hello aspirants,

This article is about Urbanization in India which is important for UPPSC Mains GS Paper 1. The aspirants can use this article for final revision as well as Mains answer writing.

Urbanization occurs because people migrate from rural areas to urban areas for achieving better living standards in their respective lives. It usually occurs when a country is still developing. Urban areas are sometimes termed as the engines of inclusive growth. 

  • 121 crore Indians: 37.7 crores stay in urban areas (32 % of the population) 
  • 83.3 crore live in rural areas.
  • At the central level, Ministry of housing and urban poverty alleviation (MOHUA) and Ministry of urban development are the nodal agencies.
  • At the state level, by 74th Constitutional amendment act, 1992, it is mandatory for every state to set up ULBs, conducts regular elections etc.
  • Urban areas are handled by urban local bodies(ULBs), who look after the service delivery and grievance redressal of citizens

Urban Settlement (The census of India, 2011):

Those places which have municipalities, corporations, cantonment boards or notified towns area committees. All the other places which fulfil the following criteria:

  1. A minimum population of 5000 persons must be there.
  2. >75 % of the male main working population engaged in non-agricultural pursuits
  3. A density of population (per square kilometre): should be at least 400 persons 

Major causes of urbanization:

  • Industrial revolution: industrial employment fetches the attention of people of urban and rural areas. In town areas, people work in the modern sector in the jobs that assist in national economic development. This shows that the traditional agricultural economics is changing to a modern non-agricultural economy. This is the trend, which results in a new modern society.
  • Job opportunities: There are plenty of job opportunities in metropolitan cities therefore village people/ individuals from town immediately migrate to these areas.
  • Availability of transportation: Due to the easy accessibility of transport, people prefer to stay in megacities.
  • Migration: Migration is one of the main cause of the rapid growth of big cities. Over centuries Migration has been going on and it is a common phenomenon. When considering urbanization rural and urban and urban and rural and rural and rural migrations are very important. Urban and urban migration means that people migrate from one city to another. 
  • Infrastructure facilities in the urban areas: Infrastructure is also played an important role in the urbanization and in the development of countries. As we see agriculture becomes more fruitful, cities grow by soaking the workforce from the rural areas. Industry and services even increase and generate much higher value-added jobs, and this led to economic growth. 

Issues and Problem with Urbanization

Some environmentalist thinks that the process of urbanization will bring positive benefits in terms of monetary growth, expanding business activities, social-cultural incorporation, resourceful services etc. Though, some issues result due to the urbanization.

Problems due to the rapid rate of urbanisation


  • Overcrowding: It is a situation in which a large number of people lives in too little space. Overcrowding is a consistent result of overpopulation in urban areas. It is obviously expected that cities are expanding their size due to the massive movement of people from undeveloped areas but it gets squeezed in a small space due to overcrowding.
  • Housing: It is another major problem due to urbanization in India. Overcrowding leads to a constant problem of lack of houses in urban areas.
  • Unemployment: The problem of unemployment is also serious as the problem of housing. Urban joblessness in India is approx. 15-25 % of the current labour force. This percentage is higher among educated people. 
  • Slums and Squatter Settlements: The natural growth of unchecked/ random growth of urban areas increasing and spread of slums areas which provides a prominent feature in the environmental structure of Indian towns, particularly of urban cities.
  • Transport: Transport system is a major challenging by-product of Urbanisation. With the problem of traffic blockages, the majority of the cities of India are suffering from a severe form of transport problem. This problem increases and becomes more complex as the town grows in dimension.
  • Water: Water is one of the most important elements of nature to maintain life and right from the initialisation of urban civilisation. Although, a supply of water started falling short of demand as the cities grew in size and number.
  • Sewage Problems: Urban cities in India are almost regularly beset with improper sewage facilities. Resource crisis faced by the municipalities and insufficient growth of the cities is two major causes of this pitiable state of affairs.
  • Trash Disposal: Urbanization results in Indian cities to grow in number and size due to which people have to come across the problem of trash disposal which is in an alarming stage.
  • Health problem due to urbanization: Factors which affects health are Social conditions, Economic conditions, Access and use of public health care services, living environment etc.
  • Urban Crimes: In megacities of India, people come across with different types of individuals, are have similarity with oneself. The problem of urban crimes increases with the increase in urbanisation.

Urbanization issues in the Indian context:

  • India is known for its rural population all over the world with about 73 percent of its population living in rural areas. The increase of urban population as well as of urbanization usually been slow as compared to most of the other Asian countries. 
  • When analyzing the urbanizing process in Indian perspective, it is viewed that major problems of urbanisation in this country are Urban Sprawl, unemployment, Housing, overcrowding, Slums and Squatter Settlements, water sewage, Trash Disposal, Urban Crimes, and Problem of Urban Pollution. 
  • While, urbanization has been a mean of economic, political and social progress, it can pose serious socio-economic problems too. The magnitude of the increasing urban population, random & unplanned growth of urban areas coupled with the lack of infrastructure, are major issues arising in India due to the process of urbanization.
  • The escalating rise of the urban population through both natural and immigration has imposed extreme pressure on public utilities like sanitation, housing, transport, electricity, water, education and health.
  • The real development of the cities, i.e. Urban sprawl, both in terms of population and geographical area, of rapidly increasing cities is one of the major causes of urban troubles. In most cities, the available financial support has not been able to deal with the problems created by their expansion.

Remedies to fix the ills of urbanization in India

  • India has an increasing population. India is going to face the increase of around 250 million expected in the next decade in the working-age inhabitants, hence it has the ultimate capacity to reap a demographic dividend (if India upgrades its urban operating model).
  • India's PM Mr Modi also gave useful insights to resolve the issues related to the ills of urbanization. He stated that the Government is going to focus on two critical factors: solid waste management & wastewater treatment.
  • In this regard, the Gujarat government’s initiative like 'Clean city, Green city' is a way ahead.
  • PM stated that there is a need to recognize the most backward areas in cities & provide basic amenities like health, sanitation, education for the underprivileged ones, thus reducing inequality.

For more UPPSC Mains Study Material Click Here  


UPPCS 2021 Express Course for Prelims

To boost the preparation of all our users, we have come up with some free video (Live Class) series.

Here are the links:

UPPCS 2021 (Pre/Mains) - बनें प्रशासनिक ऑफिसर

राज्य परीक्षाओं के लिए करंट अफेयर्स

उत्तर प्रदेश राज्य परीक्षाओं के लिए 2000 सबसे महत्वपूर्ण प्रश्न

More from us 

Study Notes (Hindi/English)

Daily Current Affairs for UP Exams

Monthly Current Affairs Quiz

NCERT Books PDF (Hindi/English)

Get Unlimited access to Structured Live Courses and Mock Tests- Online Classroom Program

Get Unlimited access to 70+ Mock Tests-BYJU'S Exam Prep Test Series


write a comment


UP StateUPPSC PCSVDOLower PCSPoliceLekhpalBEOUPSSSC PETForest GuardRO AROJudicial ServicesAllahabad HC RO ARO RecruitmentOther Exams

Follow us for latest updates