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Mains Answer Writing

One of the key components of these exams is the written test, which consists of a number of essay and comprehension questions. Candidates are expected to write clear and well-structured answers that demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the topics being tested.

10-August-2023

Q1. Urbanisation is not synonymous with development. Discuss in the context of stark Inequalities in the Urban Landscape in India.

Urbanisation is the process of becoming urban, moving to cities, changing from agriculture to other pursuits common to cities, such as trade, manufacturing, industry and management and corresponding changes in behaviour patterns. Urbanisation refers to a gradual shift of population from rural to urban areas; it is a process by which the proportion of people living in urban areas gradually increases. 

India is rapidly urbanising and is estimated to host 50% of its population in cities by 2050.

Urbanisation not synonymous with development:

  1. Lack of basic amenities: often, basic infrastructure like clean drinking water, sanitation, electricity etc., are absent from such areas denying decent living conditions to masses and sudden outbreaks of diseases that can pose a bigger threat to surrounding areas.
  2. Dwelling crises: In Indian cities, Industrialisation has far outpaced the rate of development of houses.
  3. Slums: The increased migration from rural areas in search of opportunities also inflates the prices beyond the reach of ordinary residents. This gives birth to slums and squatters in metropolitan areas. 
  4. Community costs: Urban sprawl diminishes the local characteristics of the community. Small businesses are often hidden by the visual noise of larger stores.
  5. Pockets of development: development by private contractors are limited to certain pockets like gated communities putting the larger population in peril. For instance, water logging in Gurgaon.
  6. Environmental Degradation: The growth of urban areas can lead to environmental degradation, including air pollution and the destruction of natural habitats. This can have negative impacts on both the environment and human health.
  7. Heat Island: Urban areas are associated with a concentrated pocket of heat that affects the local environment and infrastructure, straining power grids, melting roads etc.

Inequalities in the Urban Landscape in India:

  1. Gated communities: Urbanisation has led to the development of gated communities, where only certain people, usually wealthy, have access. This can exacerbate social inequality.
  2. Ghettoisation: urbanisation has led to the formation of ghettos or segregated neighbourhoods based on race, religion, and caste. For Example, in many cities, people from lower castes and the poorest section of society are forced to live in overcrowded slums like Dharavi in Mumbai.
  3. Social discrimination: people belonging to certain lower castes, religious minorities, and people from certain ethnic groups may face discrimination in housing, employment, and access to public services.
  4. Social unrest and crime: Rapid urbanisation has also increased crime and social unrest. For Example, in cities like Delhi, there have been instances of rioting and civil unrest due to issues such as unemployment, poverty and displacement.

Urbanisation – as a path to development

  1. Better Health and Education: Cities have better infrastructure and, therefore, a better standard of life. These are the markers of development.
  2. Better Governance: Public offices are within easy reach in cities, and the government is more responsive.
  3. Efficiency in transport and Economy: Cities make supply chain linkages easier. Cities are the essential need of a functional economic system.
  4. Dilution of Discriminatory Identities: the caste and racial identities are diluted in the urban rush. Therefore, cities dilute discriminatory identities.

Conclusion:

Urbanisation is central to India’s Economy. For India to become a global player, urban India needs to take a giant leap, with Indian cities being well prepared to deal with current challenges and a competitive future. 

However, several bottlenecks and impediments, such as lack of basic infrastructure, traffic, air and water pollution etc., have been restricting urban planning capacity in the country. India has thus taken up this challenge through various schemes such as AMRUT, Smart City Mission, HRIDAY scheme etc.

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