Rural Classification Essay

7198 Words Jan 4th, 2012 29 Pages
Ram B. Bhagat
International Institute for Population Sciences, Mumbai, India

Rural-urban classification constitutes an important framework for the collection and compilation of population data in many countries. While “urban” is often specifically defined, “rural” is treated simply as a residual category. The criteria defining urban also differ from country to country. This paper argues that these rural and urban statistical categories are also highly significant for local governance, increasingly so in recent years given the emphasis on local governance and its restructuring. In India, constitutional amendments have given constitutional status to local bodies in
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The categorisation of rural and urban is a first step for initiating local governance. It is an important instrument of political empowerment of marginalised communities and is closely associated with the level and composition of revenue bases (Reza, 2002).

Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 26(1), 2005, 61-73 © Copyright 2005 Department of Geography, National University of Singapore and Blackwell Publishers Ltd


Bhagat characteristics and, therefore, could be subjected to different governance and planning processes. In India, the Census of India – an organ of the Central Government – classifies settlements into rural and urban, whereas it is state governments which grant municipal status to urban centres. This paper examines the criteria of rural-urban classification used in the census and its role in fulfilling the needs of urban governance. The paper further examines the implications for municipal governance of the congruence between rural-urban status on the one hand and municipal and non-municipal status of urban centres on the other.

In India, the economic deregulation policy

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