A serious problem in the world today is dealing with the rising urbanization because of economic liberalization. It has brought in economic reforms and development. In India, every minute 25 to 30 people are migrating from rural areas to different Indian cities in search of a better lifestyle and livelihood. If this continues, then India’s urban population will reach 600 million by 2030. Employment is one of the main reasons for migrations. Tier 1 cities are having the highest in-migration. Reasons for migrations vary from a highly skilled IT engineer looking for openings at the IT development centers in Bangalore or Hyderabad to a farm laborer migrating from the hinterlands of Uttar Pradesh to work at construction sites in Gurugram. You can visit a railway station or airport in tier 1 cities such as Mumbai, Bangalore, and Delhi to see a huge number of domestic travelers rushing back to their homes during festivals such as Diwali, Dussehra, Holi, Eid, etc. The annual increment in the number of people migrating has been straining big-city resources and infrastructure to a great extent. 

While reasons like better social integration, the formation of new markets and businesses are pulling more people towards the bigger cities, the disadvantages such as traffic congestion, to higher urban unemployment are making people think about alternate measures. Most of the cities are witnessing increasing pollution, overcrowded lanes, generalized security concerns and a rise in the cost of living. These factors have a negative influence on the everyday life of its citizens. For many years, rural-to-urban migration has been considered as the only known pattern of urbanized migration and this trend is supported solely by economic considerations.

But recently, some reverse trends are being noticed in many parts of the country, where people are moving from cities back to rural areas to enjoy peaceful living in rural environments. It can be justified as moving to a place where the pace of daily life is much slower when compared to Tier1 cities, where groceries are cheaper and the air is cleaner. Thus, leading to a new wave – reverse migration trend in India. Another reason for reverse migration is, sustainable usage of natural resources, since urbanization has been resulting in excessive overuse of natural resources and some of them are on the verge of depletion. Factors such as the availability of resources in Tier 2 cities, inexpensive daily commodities, rising industrial development, affordable lifestyle, real estate properties and monetary savings etc. are giving them no option but to go back to the place from where they started. 

The Indian government has initiated many steps to promote reverse migration, such as:

1. Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana: This is a concept of providing rural areas with urban amenities thus, promoting rural economic development in India. This was proposed by our Late President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam

2. DWCRA – ‘Women empowering scheme”: loans are provided at cheaper interest rates for women and also help them get trained with some self-employment skills like tailoring, candle production, etc.

3. Affordable Housing scheme:  An aim to provide affordable housing for everyone. 

In 2015, our honorable Prime Minister launched the ‘Housing for All’, a home loan scheme to help every section of the society have their own house. This scheme was launched for the Economically Weaker Section, Lower and Middle Income Group wherein an interest subsidy is provided on the purchase, the construction, the extension and the improvement of the house with a 6.5% interest subsidy rate up-to 20 years. The variation of the interest rates depends on the income of the individual. 

The above-mentioned reasons finally contributed to the recently initiated ‘Smart City Project’ by the government of India. One optimistic prediction was that India’s urbanization rate would increase over 60% in the next 30 years and a 7-9% rate of economic growth is expected as per the analysis made by  Niti Ayog. This prediction came true between the 2001 and 2011 census. The urbanization went up from 27.8% to 31.1%. 

But the recent figures show that India’s urbanization pace has slowed down. A graph to support the statement 

Smart cities: The transformation of some specifically chosen Tier 2 cities into smart cities, wherein this transformation will boost the Indian economy and help India revive itself in terms of Industrial growth.

For example: ‘Tumakuru’ is a city located 70 km away from Bangalore and is one of the fastest developing regions in the area and has qualified for the Smart city mission. The smart city mission is to provide smart transit, better transportation, safety enabled and green infrastructure. The city already has good luxury housing which includes mid-segment homes and affordable homes, transport connectivity, excellent educational institutes, good social infrastructure, and availability of civic amenities like, shopping malls, hospitals, nature cure hospitals and banks.

The trend of reverse migration from Bangalore to Tumakuru will be a blessing in disguise, it will decongest Bangalore city. 

Reverse migration will ease down the density of the population in urban areas. But if more and more people start migrating back to rural areas the same scenario will reproduce, so the major concern here is the huge population growth.