Is the cultural capital of Karnataka set to break into the list of metropolitan cities of India based on its population figures?

The question assumes significance in view of Census 2011 which will commence from April 15. Mysore, the population of which was pegged at 7.10 lakh in the Census 2001, has been projected to cross the 10 lakh or the one-million mark.

The projected population figure is based on the population growth index of 22.2 per cent for Mysore, according to Deputy Commissioner P. Manivannan.

Additional benefits

If Census 2011 does establish Mysore's population at one million, then it will join 35 other such cities in India which have the “metropolitan” tag and can expect to reap a slew of additional benefits.

A few more cities and towns in the State, the population of which are hovering around the one-million mark, may also enter the revised list.

Government Order

But the Union government and State government employees who are looking forward to an enhanced House Rent Allowance (HRA) are in for a disappointment. For, a Government Order has classified cities under Groups A to E based on the population figures.

Accordingly, cities with a population of 16 lakh and above have been graded A with a sanctioned HRA of 20 per cent of the basic pay, while cities with a population of 8 lakh to 16 lakh have been categorised as B1 cities while B2 cities have a population between 4 lakh and 8 lakh with a sanctioned HRA rate of 15 per cent.

Cities graded as C have a population ranging from 50,000 to 4 lakh with an HRA of 9 per cent while D cities have a population ranging from 25,000 to 50,000 with an HRA of 6 per cent. Urban centres with a population less than 25,000 are classified under E category with an HRA of 5 per cent.

If the above GO issued in 1999 continues to be the yardstick for calculating the HRA, government employees in Mysore and other cities in the State may not benefit even if the city is re-classified under B1 category, up from its present status of a B2 city.

More funding

However, the city can expect additional funding if it receives the “metropolitan” tag. The Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India, for instance has proposed establishing and developing satellite townships to act as a counter-magnet in cities with one million-plus population.

The Constitution also mandates the formation of a Metropolitan Planning Committee to prepare a draft development plan for the metropolitan area.

The Government anticipates the number of metropolitan cities to increase from 35 to 50 based on the projected population of Census 2011, which means renewed focus on urban infrastructure development.

The number of “metropolitan” cities with a population of over one million after the 1991 census was 23.

While the Mysore city population is expected to cross the one-million mark, the district population figures have been pegged at 30 lakh, while it was 26.4 lakh after Census 2001.

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