The level of urbanisation is measured in terms of percentage of urban population to the total population. During independence, 17.29% of India’s population lived in urban areas (1951). Now, the proportion of the urban population is 31.08% (in 2011), which is twice that of 1951.
Now according to the Census of 2011, 68.8% of Indians lived in rural areas. However, the distribution of the rural population is not uniform throughout the country.
•States like Bihar and Sikkim have a very high percentage of the rural population.
•The states of Goa and Maharashtra have only little over half of their total population residing in villages.
•The Union Territories have a smaller proportion of the rural population, except Dadra and Nagar Haveli (53.38%).
•The growth rate of urban population has accelerated due to enhanced economic development and improvement in health and hygienic conditions.
•The distribution of urban population to has a wide variation throughout the country.
•Almost all the states and Union Territories have shown a considerable increase in the urban population.
•India’s level of urbanisation is still lower than the world average of 55% (in 2018)
In India, towns flourished since prehistoric times. Towns like Harappa and Mohanjodaro, represents the developmental achievements of the Indus Valley Civilisation. Evolution of towns in the following periods witnessed periodic ups and downs until the arrival of Europeans in India, in the 18th century.
On the basis of their evolution in different periods, Indian towns may be classified as:
•These are towns have a historical background spanning over 2000 years.
•Most of them developed as religious and cultural centres.
•Varanasi, Allahabad, Pataliputra (Patna), Madurai are some notable examples of ancient towns in India.
•About 100 existing towns in India have their roots in the medieval period.
•Most of them developed as headquarters of principalities and kingdoms.
•These are fort towns which came upon the ruins of ancient towns.
•Important among them are Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Agra and Nagpur.
•These are towns developed by the British and other European colonisers.
•Starting their foothold on coastal locations, they first developed some trading ports such as Surat, Daman, Goa, Pondicherry, etc.
•The British later consolidated their hold around three principal nodes – Mumbai (Bombay), Chennai (Madras), and Kolkata (Calcutta) – and built them in the British style.
•The colonisers also established new administrative centres, hill towns as summer resorts, and added new civil, administrative and military areas to them.
•Towns based on modern industries, like Jamshedpur, also evolved after 1850.
•After independence, a large number of towns have been developed as
o administrative headquarter, e.g., Chandigarh, Gandhinagar, Bhubaneswar, etc.
o industrial centres, such as Durgapur, Bhilai, Sindri, Barauni, etc.
•Some old towns also developed as satellite towns around metropolitan cities, such as Ghaziabad, Rohtak, Gururam around Delhi.
•With increasing investment in Rural areas, a large number of medium and small towns have developed all over the country.
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