Growth, urbanisation, and rural-urban linkages in Bihar

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Urbanization reflects the transition from an agriculture-dependent economy to an industrialized modern economy with concomitant development in infrastructure and access to basic facilities. While urbanization is clearly an outcome of the growth process and industrialization, it also drives the growth process through exchanges of goods, services, labor, capital, information-technology and social transactions. In the absence of a strong non-agricultural sector, despite a large population, the urbanization rate in Bihar is just 11.3 % as of 2011, vis-à-vis 31.2% for all-India.

In the above context, with reference to the main research questions as outlined in the proposal for the present study, the overall methodological framework of research is outlined below:

  • Characterizing the overall trend and pattern of urbanisation: The study will explore the reasons for low urbanization in the state, and identify its regional pattern across the State and its economic and social characteristics.
  • Case studies of towns/cities: These will bring out the specific nature of urban development in towns of different types, and the patterns of inclusion and exclusion that result. Three towns in the more industrialized South Bihar and three in less industrialized North Bihar will be the focus.
  • Rural-urban linkages: Urban development in Bihar depends heavily on the pattern of development in surrounding rural areas. Rural stagnation can also be due to poor urbanisation. The study will try to identify the main linkages.
  • Poverty and social exclusion: In order to understand the level of poverty, social exclusion, a household survey among the poor households will be conducted. This data will be used in juxtaposition with National Sample Survey data to obtain insight into issues of exclusion.

A mix of primary and secondary data will be used. With secondary data (such as Census and National Sample Survey), trends and patterns of the urban development and typologies of urban areas in Bihar will be analysed. Data from the Economic Census, municipalities, trade associations etc. will also be used. Rural-urban linkage will be explored with the help of IHD panel data on rural areas.

The primary data collection will be done with the help of two major types of sample surveys conducted in sample towns of Bihar.

  1. An enterprise survey conducted with the factories, shops and establishments, to obtain information about outputs and growth of the firms. The questionnaire will probe the identification particulars of the firms, enterprise details, worker’s details, information about own account enterprises (OAE), factory workers, etc.
  2. A household survey conducted among the poor households will collect information regarding general background and household members’ details.
  3. Focus group discussions and in-depth interviews will be conducted within poor settlements and also in industrial settings, industry associations, corporations, and with municipality staff in orderto collect and understand perceptions regarding development, changes in labour markets, employment opportunities, challenges to expansion and growth, urban planning and land issues.

The selection of towns will be made on the basis of their size, main economy, level of economic development, proximity to rural centres and large urban centres. For the enterprise survey, lists of all the factories and shops/establishments will be collected from the concerned departments of the state government. The stratification of the factories and shops/establishments will be done on the basis of broad groups of factories, shops/establishments. Among each group proportionate sample will be drawn. For the household survey, samples will be drawn from the list of slums provided by the municipal bodies of the towns. Household selection will be on the basis of systematic random sampling.