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Andhra Pradesh – Urban Profile
 
Urban Population :-
In Andhra Pradesh, Urban population has witnessed significant growth over the last fifty years. Andhra Pradesh has 110 ULBs with a population of 146 lakhs, which has registered a growth rate of 400%, constituting 29.6% of the total population and it continues to grow at an accelerated pace. Amongst the urban population, nearly 59 lakhs is categorized as Below Poverty Line (BPL). It is also estimated that 50% of the total poor are living in urban areas. This is attributed to the migration of people from rural areas in search of better livelihood opportunities in the urban growth centers.
Sl.No. District Total Population Urban Population % of Urban Population
1 Visakhapatnam 42,90,589 20,35,922 47.5
2 Krishna 45,17,398 18,43,660 40.8
3 Cuddapah 28,82,469 9,79,132 34.0
4 Guntur 48,87,813 16,52,738 33.8
5 Chittoor 41,74,064 12,31,386 29.5
6 Nellore 29,63,557 8,57,630 28.9
7 Kurnool 40,53,463 11,49,286 28.4
8 Ananthapur 40,81,148 11,45,711 28.1
9 East Godavari 51,54,296 13,13,972 25.5
10 Vizianagaram 23,44,474 4,90,911 20.9
11 West Godavari 39,36,966 8,08,777 20.5
12 Prakasam 33,97,448 6,64,582 19.6
13 Srikakulam 27,03,114 4,36,703 16.2
Andhra Pradesh 4,93,86,799 1,46,10,410 29.6
Urban Poverty :-
It is interesting to note that the ratio of urban poverty is higher than that of rural poverty leading to the phenomenon of ‘Urbanisation of Poverty’. Urban poverty poses the problems of housing and shelter, water, sanitation, health, education, social security and livelihoods along with special needs of vulnerable groups like women, children, PWDs (Persons with Disabilities) and aged people. Poor people live in slums which are overcrowded, often polluted and lack basic civic amenities like clean drinking water, sanitation, basic environmental infrastructure, health and education facilities including tenurial rights. Most of them are involved in informal sector activities where there is constant threat of eviction, removal, confiscation of goods and almost non-existent social security cover.
 
Urban Infrastructure :-
Urban infrastructure constrains have become a bottleneck for India’s rapid economic growth rate. When urbanizing is occurring rapidly without proper infrastructure, the urban environment rapidly deteriorates, risking the health of inhabitants. Most Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) depend on intergovernmental fiscal transfers for their existence. This condition is not encouraging, as India has to accelerate urban infrastructure development on a sustainable and larger scale. Lack of periodic revision of municipal tax rates and user charges, and poor information systems and records management are some of the basic weaknesses in the present municipal administration. India’s local governments are plagued by low municipal revenue compared with other emerging economies. This leads to the questions as to what afflicts the finances of municipalities in India, what options exist for strengthening their finances, and what the experiences are in other countries that can provide insight for local finance in India.
 
Urban Infrastructure :-
Urban infrastructure constrains have become a bottleneck for India’s rapid economic growth rate. When urbanizing is occurring rapidly without proper infrastructure, the urban environment rapidly deteriorates, risking the health of inhabitants. Most Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) depend on intergovernmental fiscal transfers for their existence. This condition is not encouraging, as India has to accelerate urban infrastructure development on a sustainable and larger scale. Lack of periodic revision of municipal tax rates and user charges, and poor information systems and records management are some of the basic weaknesses in the present municipal administration. India’s local governments are plagued by low municipal revenue compared with other emerging economies. This leads to the questions as to what afflicts the finances of municipalities in India, what options exist for strengthening their finances, and what the experiences are in other countries that can provide insight for local finance in India.
 
ULB Classification :-
Municipalities of India are largely classified into three groups :
  1. Larger urban areas (populations of more than 1 million) governed by municipal corporations
  2. Medium sized urban areas (population size of 200,000 but less than 1 million ) governed by municipal councils
  3. Smaller urban areas in transition from rural to urban areas ( population size less than 200,000) governed by town councils. These categories are based on the types of governance organizations permitted by laws and regulations. Municipal corporations usually exercise a good degree of fiscal autonomy and power as they have larger population and tax base, and deal with state governments directly. Municipalities with smaller jurisdictions have to deal with the state governments through the district collectors. As the revenue collection and sharing procedure differs by state government, exploring these intergovernmental fiscal relationships, procedures, and mechanisms may provide important insights into the limited access of ULBs to resources. In Andhra Pradesh the ULBs are classified into the following groups
  1. Municipal Corporations
  2. Selection grade municipalities
  3. Special grade municipalities
  4. First grade municipalities
  5. Second grade municipalities
  6. Third grade municipalities
  7. Nagar Panchayats
 
ULB Administrative set up :-
The 3 Tier System of Governance in the Country Vesting Administrative Powers to the Urban Local Bodies
Indian ULBs are third tier administrative divisions, responsible for providing basic infrastructure and services in cities and towns. In 2001, there were 5,161 cities and towns in the country. As on today, in Andhra Pradesh, there are 110 Urban Local Bodies. Under the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1992, an initiative was launched to decentralize power and strengthen democracy at the local level. It provided ULBs with political, functional, and fiscal empowerment for good governance. Yet, more often than not, it is observed that current local government bodies-particularly small and medium sized ULBs-have poor fiscal competencies and capacities to exercise devolved power. Mobilizing domestic resources or debt financing for urban infrastructure investments is difficult because, invariably, ULBs have very low credit ratings (if they can be considered for credit worthiness) due to fiscal weaknesses. The fiscal strength and sustainability of ULBs are at the core of financing the provision of sustainable urban infrastructure. It is important to review and analyze in- depth whether fiscal decentralization has been adequately done to pursue effective urban development at the ULB level.
 
New Urban Development Initiatives :-
A number of important initiatives have been taken in India to strengthen the urban governance and improve service delivery in municipalities and to simultaneously identify areas needing attention :
  1. The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission was launched, with one of the key aims being the improvement in service delivery and creation of new assets as well as fiscal empowerment of municipalities and the phase II of the programme would also carry forward the initiatives.
  2. The Reserve Bank of India has constituted a working group comprising the State Finance Secretaries and a few experts to consider additional reforms; and
  3. A high-power expert committee was constituted to review the physical and financial norms of urban infrastructure services, and to suggest a model for financing such services.
  4. The 13th finance commission also has mandated service improvements and urban reforms in the urban local bodies as its focus.
  5. In addition to the above the government of Andhra Pradesh has taken up a massive housing programme in urban areas to improve the stock of housing.
  6. Through funding from external agencies a large number of infrastructure programmes and slum improvement programmes are being taken up in the state.
  7. The state government is aiming at poverty reduction in urban areas through MEPMA which aims at community based mobilization of women and Other disadvantaged groups.
            In Andhra Pradesh, the municipalities are governed by AP Municipalities act of 1965 and corporations are governed by Hyderabad Municipal corporation act of 1955.