India's 'Census Towns' Struggle to Keep Up with Growth

As rural areas urbanize, India's land classification system leaves many without power to implement services.

Indian cities are growing, and growing well outside their borders. This creates large problems in so-called "census towns," whose government structure is set up to meet the needs of a rural village. While this pleases some residents, who bought once-rural land cheaply and are subject to lower taxes and few regulations, it interferes with local leaders' ability to implement much-needed services.

Residents complain that roads go unpaved and there is no garbage services. While residents meet their own needs by sending their kids to private schools or drilling wells to make up for lack of municipal water, the private model only goes so far, such as when water tables drop because of too many unregulated wells. Thus, many hope the state will take the step of designating their census towns as municipalities. As one resident put it, "Of course, we will pay taxes! If we get the facilities, we will be happy. We have been living here for 10 years, but the road in front of our house has not been repaired till now."

The article is part of a six-part series of the challenges of census towns.

Thanks to Rachel Proctor May

Full Story: Zero amenities, yet census towns hit the property jackpot

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