What Is Urban?

By Dr Bibek Debroy, Amit Kapoor & Aditya Sinha:

Throughout the 20th Century, modern states have pursued what political scientist, James Scott, termed projects of legibility and simplification. The typifications through which state officials assess the life of their society are a bit distanced from abstract reality.

In his popular work, ‘Seeing like a State’, James Scott explains: “These typifications are indispensable to statecraft. State simplifications such as maps, censuses, cadastral lists, and standard units of measurement represent techniques for grasping a large and complex reality; in order for officials to be able to comprehend aspects of the ensemble, that complex reality must be reduced to schematic categories. The only way to accomplish this is to reduce an infinite array of detail to a set of categories that will facilitate summary descriptions, comparisons, and aggregation.”

Censuses, cadastral maps, uniform naming conventions, definitions etc. emanate out of these simplifications. While these simplifications make it easier for officials to govern, they mask complex realities. The official definition of “urban” in India is no exception. There are two ways in which a particular area can be classified as urban area.

Read the full article here: https://www.businessworld.in/article/What-Is-Urban-/24-06-2022-433945/