In a major boost to the urbanization in Bihar, the Nitish 4.0 Government has upgraded 5 District Councils (Zila Parishad) to Municipal Corporations (Nagar Nigams), upping the total count of such corporations in Bihar to 17. A decision on this was taken in the meeting of State’s Cabinet on Saturday, December 26.
32 Nagar Panchayats have also been upgraded to Zila Parishad. These include Rajgir, Piro, Nokha, Chakiya, Ramnagar, Lalganj, Mahua, Janakpur Road, Bairginiya, Shivhar, Teghra, Haveli Kharagpur, Jamalpur, Bodh Gaya, Sherghati, Tekari, Warsaliganj, Hisua, Kanti, Motipur, Sahebganj, Kasba, Banmankhi, Jogbani, Birauli, Mirganj, Rosera, Dalsinghsarai, Naughachia and Simri Bakhtiyarpur. In addition to these 103 new Nagar Panchayats and 8 new Nagar Parishads shall also be formed.
Declaring a region as Urban comes with multiple benefits. Urban areas receives several funds and endowments from Central Government, for e.g. Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation. About ₹1 lakh crore (US$14 billion) investment on urban development under Smart Cities Mission and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation of 500 cities has already been approved by the governmen
One of the major priorities of the newly formed Nitish Govt is massive urbanization of the state. As of now, only 11% of Bihar’s population resides in Urban areas compared to the national average of 32% and global average of 54% , as per 2011 census. This is due to variety of factors including lack of employment opportunities, less urban centers, low average income.
Of the total 199 towns in Bihar, only 26 have a population of at least one lakh. Patna holds a mammoth 14% share of urban population, followed by Gaya(4%). According to 2011 census data,the urbanization percentage in South Bihar was much higher compared to North Bihar. In south, Patna (43%) and Nalanda (15.9%) accounted for highest urbanization share while in north, Madhubani (3.6%) and Darbhanga (9.7%) were the top two most urbanized districts.
In the month of May, a draft was proposed to increase the number of urban local bodies by 150. A fresh mandate to the Nitish Kumar led Government has paved way for this. One of the key issues noted in the draft was the need to revamp the criteria for declaring a region as urban.
Urban living is associated with higher levels of health and educational outcomes, along with increased access to social services. The urban development characterizes the economic transformation of any region and is generally associated with industrialization, reflecting the transition from an agriculture-dependent economy to an industrialized one with concomitant development in infrastructure and access to basic facilities such as water and sanitation.