Role of small and intermediate towns in regional development: A case study of Raebareli, Sultanpur and Pratapgarh Districts of Uttar Pradesh, India

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It is said that small and intermediate size towns play a significant role in the socio-economic transformation of regional spaces through diffusion of innovations. It, however, has been hypothesized here that in this diffusion process the villages having better infrastructural facilities and services, play central role. For its analysis, the study takes the case of a region consisting of three administrative districts - Raebareli, Sultanpur and Pratapgarh, of the Uttar Pradesh state of India. These districts have remained in political focus since India’s independence and have elected two prime-ministers and some most influential politicians of their times in quest of development. However, the condition of development here is still deplorable. These districts have 22 statutory towns, and are least urbanized in the state. The towns are mainly administrative or market centres in nature serving surrounding villages by their backward and forward linkages. The study analyses ‘Z scores’ of select services to measure the level of development at block and village level, and portrays the spatial arrangement of towns in development setting of the region. The study observes that while towns are instrumental in promoting regional development, the role of ‘rurban’ centres (high service villages) in the process of diffusion of development is pivotal.

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