The Relationship Between Town Civic Status and Urban Basic Services in India
This paper examines the relationship between an Indian town’s civic status and the provision of public services in that town. Towns in India have one of two main civic statuses – “statutory towns” that have been officially declared to be urban by state governments, and “census towns” that meet the Indian Census’ criteria of being urban but are not officially designated as such. Using town-level data from the 2001 and 2011 Censuses of India, this paper finds that statutory towns perform better in the provision of tap water than census towns. On average, the percentage of households using tap water for drinking water is eight percentage points higher in statutory towns than in census towns. These findings suggest that receiving official statutory town status may benefit the residents of newly urbanising areas in the country, though further research is required to explore the mechanisms connecting public services and civic status.
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