This paper analyses the recent trends and structure of urbanisation in India, examines the validity of the projections made by various international and national organizations and discusses the implications of the concentration of demographic and economic growth in and around a few large cities. The availability of basic amenities such as water supply, toilets and electricity are analysed across the states and size class of urban settlements, reflecting an accentuation of regional imbalances. The impact of tapping capital market through a credit rating system and the launching of innovative borrowing instruments by the local authorities are also examined. The author argues that the initiatives for a new system of governance are likely to result in a top-heavy urban structure wherein a few large cities would claim much of the economic activity. Furthermore, it is argued that the recent changes in urban governance, including the Constitutional Amendment, may not effectively empower the smaller bodies, particularly those in the less-developed states, to undertake development responsibilities.
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