Transforming Livelihood in Peri-Urban Interface: A Case of Hinnakki village from Anekal Taluk, Bengaluru, Karnataka

– Dr. SurashreeShome

“As cities expand physically, the frontiers between urban, peri-urban and rural activity blur and merge, presenting opportunities for beneficial linkages ”.

– FAO of the UN, July 2001

Rapid rural-urban continuum is stressing the rural areas near to urban Centre’sfor natural as well as human resources. On the other hand, socio-cultural and economic aspects of these rural areas are continuously getting redefined because of the constant interaction with its urban counterpart. Once dominated by agricultural or natural resource based socio-economic systems, these rural areas have shifted towards market-centric livelihoods, catering especially to the urban market needs.The primary victims of rural-urban continuum are the landless households’ dependent on agriculture and other natural based economy. As these people have suddenly realized that their traditional skill/knowledge have decreased demand in the current economy of their village, and they require new skills/knowledge for survival.

Mostly referred as ‘peri-urban2’ areas, characteristics of these areas neither fulfill the official criterion of rural or of urban areas3. As most of our development policies are shaped by conceptual frameworks that characterize “rural” areas primarily dominated by primary economy, and urban as the locus of the manufacturing and service economy, the economic issues of these “peri-urban” areas are inadequately met. Here, it is important to mention that in an era of rapid urbanization, the rural areas with urban characteristics are constantly increasing, thus it is important to understand the characteristics and issues of the areas for planning development programs. This case study has been developed with a single objective of understanding the change in the life and livelihood of the people from peri-urban areas. Further, the findings can be utilized to develop targeted research studies for better understanding and gathering more evidences for advocating policy/programs in favour of poor and vulnerable communities from these areas.

Hinnaki village of Hennagara Gram Panchayat (Anekaltaluk, Bangalore district, Karnataka) is a continuum of Bangalore Metropolitan city, and hence a case for the study. Before going ahead, let’s analyze the characteristics of the village as per the definition provided for urban/rural areas by the Census. The Census defined any place as ‘urban areas’,which meets the following criteria:

(a) all places with a Municipality, Corporation or Cantonment or Notified Town Area
or

(b) all other places which satisfied the following criteria:

  1. a minimum population of 5,000.
  2. at least 75% of the male working population was non-agricultural.
  3. a density of population of at least 400 sq. Km. (i.e. 1000 per sq. Mile)

Rural areas: All areas other than urban are rural areas.

As the village is not a Municipality, Corporation or Cantonment or Notified Town Area, thus it need to be checked under the second criteria, i.e.(b). As per the available data from Census 2011, the population of the village was 1384; more than 82 percent of the male working population was non-agricultural; and the density was around 570 persons/Km2. As the village does not fulfill the first criteria, thus it falls under the rural category. In such case, the program or policy meant for the rural areas will be applicable to the village. This will be totally inappropriate to the village needs where most of the working population is engaged with the non-agricultural sector.

The methodology to collect data for the case study is based on the interaction with Mr. Muniraja R , which has been further verified from secondary sources and the data collected by the field team of GRAAM for the “Community Need Assessment” study of the Hinnakki Village. Other than this, Census (2011) of the district, papers and articles published in various newspapers/journals on the related issues and websites of Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) has been referred.

The village is situated on the Anekal- Chandapura road and about 12 km away from thetaluk headquarter – Anekal,and 31 km away from the IT city of India and capital of Karnataka – Bangalore. The village is close to two of the major industrial areas of the Bangalore Urban District, i.e. Jigani Industrial Area (henceforth JIA) and Bommasandra Industrial Area (henceforth BIA). Both the industrial areas, JIA and BIA, encompasses some of the country’s top pharma, manufacturing, electrical, food, electronic and mechanical companies. As per KIADB site, area for JIA was first acquired on September 1981 (1st Phase) and later on April 1995 (2nd Phase) .However, the growth of these areas were stranded till 2002. As per a news article published on Business Standard ‘less than half of 700 units in the BIA were inactive in 2002 ’. The area came into focus after the boom of IT sector in the city, more specifically, after the progression of Electronic City from the beginning of 21st century.

In 2006, Karnataka Housing Board acquired about 210 hectares of agricultural land from the farmers of Hinnakki village, which was more than 86 percent of the total land area of the village . The farmers were paid around 34 lakhs for 0.4 hectares of land (1 acres) as compensation. After this transaction, other than settlement area, only few hectares of land remained with the farmers for agriculture.This sudden change in land use has reshaped the life and livelihoods of the residents from the village, and this case study has tried to capture the same.

A close scrutiny of village map (https://www.google.co.in/maps/) clearly shows the principal settlement area of the village and its expansion along the main roads, small agricultural lands surrounding the settlement area, and the curved plots for residential houses by KHB (southeast corner)

Livelihood Structure of Hinnakki Village

As per the Census 2011, more than 88 percent of the total areas of the village (243.19 hectares) was under net sown area (more than 90 percent of it was unirrigated). Major crops were Ragi and Vegetables. However, the current data collected by the GRAAM team from the GP office of Hinnakki shows that the total area of the village is 99.79 hectares.This means the GP records has not considered land acquired by KHB under the village area. As per the GP records, only 67.8 percent (67.62 hectares) of the total area of the villageis available for agricultural purpose. Furthermore, all these agricultural landsare either with small (1-2 hectares) or marginal (less than 1 hectares) landholders, 62 percent and 38 percent, respectively. Being in the periphery of a metropolitan city, the village now functions like a market garden/truck farm , where daily consumables, like vegetables and flowersare largely produced for the direct sale to the local or nearby market. Production of ragi crop has decreased immensely as the farmers prefer to produce vegetables which bring them higher profit. Area under irrigation has also increased by huge margin in last five to six years due to shift in cropping pattern. Compare to ragi, which is a dry crop,production of vegetables and flowers has intensified the demand of water which is met through the bore well water. However, overuse of bore wells in last few years has resulted in depleted water table, which has gone down from 40 meters to 100 meters in just four to five years.Not only the available water resources have been misused but also the farmers grabbed the land under natural storm water to increase their income from agriculture. As per Ms. Shantamma (Ex-President of GP), “farmers have grabbed the land under the natural storm water drainage which is linked to the Mayasandra tank. This has resulted to stagnation of rainwater at various places which provided breeding ground to mosquitoes, and thus associated diseases.”

Demographic Details of the Village

With a total geographical area of 243.19 hectares and 311 houses, the total population of Hinnakki village is of 1384 persons. As per our calculations, the density of the village is around 570 persons/Km2,which is more than the required density for rural areas (less than 400 per sq km). Percentage of male population in total population was 50.2 percent and corresponding figure for female population was 49.8 percent. More than one fourth (27.2%) of the village population belongs to Scheduled Caste and about 6.6 percent to Scheduled Tribe community. Population of children in age group of 0-6 is 171, which is 12.36 percent of the total population. Approximate Sex Ratio of Hinnakki village is 991 which is higher than Karnataka state average of 973. Child Sex Ratio for the Hinnakki as per census is 1138, which is again higher than Karnataka average of 948 (Census 2011). As per Census 2011, literacy rate of Hinnakki village (68.1%) was lower than the state literacy rate of 75.4 percent. Literacy rate of males in the village was 77.4 percent while female literacy rate was 58.53 percent. (Census 2011)

Close proximity to the city has also encouraged the livestock rearing in the village as more than 40 percent of the households in the village are engaged with livestock rearing . As per the GP records, the villagers own 280 sheep’s, 175 cows, 100 buffaloes, 460 poultry animals and 75 goats. The village has ‘milk storage facility’ along with ‘Milk Collection Society’ which collects around 320 litres of milk daily (highest in Anekaltaluka).However, decrease in agricultural land and farmer’s preference for vegetables crops has somehow ceased the production of fodder crop in the village. This has adversely effected the rearing of cows and buffaloes as fodder has to be bought form markets outside the village which has consequently increased the total expenditure on livestock rearing.

Declining agricultural employment has compelled most of the agricultural labourers from the village to seek unskilled labour work in the neighbouring industrial/urban areas. As per our discussion with the various groups, people are engaged either as construction worker or cab/taxi driver in Bangalore city, or working in the neighbouring industries for livelihood. Only two to three percent of the working population is engaged with the service sector. Although the village is situated in the proximity of Bangalore – a city with highest job market growth in the country , it is unable to escape the issue of unemployment as about 20 percent of the youths are unemployed in the village. Reasons for unemployment given are lack of awareness about the available employment opportunities and incompetence in spoken and written English.

As per our conversation with Mr. Muniraju, about 125-150 households have sold their agricultural lands to Karnataka Housing Board. Money received from the transaction is mainly utilized for investment either in real estate or in initiating small businesses, like opening a small provision stores or computer browsing Centre’s. Few households have also fixed the amount with the existing financial institutions and opted to work in the neigbouring industries/organizations for livelihood. However, the sudden availability of cash has increased the squandering tendency of the villagers as many households have purchased top end models of cars/motorcycles which they keep on updating/changing in every two to three years.An elderly villager pointed out during the discussion that the number of cars in a village have gone up from just 2-3 to above 100 in last five years.

Inevitably, demands for higher educational qualification (with preference for English) in the current employment market has increased the importance of education, manifolds, amongst villagers. As per our discussion with youth groups, number of male youths going for higher secondary educationh as increased from 2 to 98 percent in last ten years whereas the female counterpart has shown an increase of 95 percent from mere one percent.Demand has also been equally reciprocated by supply as many educational institutes has initiated schools (especially English medium) in and around the village. Wherein, ten years back, the children of the village had to travel to nearby towns, like Jigani, Marasur or Chandapura, in search of English medium education.Now the village itself hosts a nationally acclaimed private English medium school (Edify) , where the per child fees is above INR 80,000/annum. Other than Edify, six more private English medium schools have been started in and around village in last few years where the annual fees ranges between INR 20,000 to 80,000 per child. It is estimated that about 60 percent of the school going children are going to English medium private schools for their education.

However, the change in livelihood pattern and proximity to city has not changed the available infrastructure in the village. Still ten percent of the households in the village lack toilet facility within their premises, drains are not properly laid, not all the roads are pucca and streetlights are still missing. The nearest Primary Health Centre (PHC) is about 5-10 kilometers away from the village, and as per the census 2011, the village don’t have any health sub-center also. The only Government Primary School in the village has just two rooms which accommodates five classes.

Conclusion:

Hinnakki is a perfect example of peri-urban areas where rural form of livelihood is giving way to urban employment pattern. The required skill set to get employed has changed drastically in last 10 to 15 years without giving an opportunity to the residents of peri-urban areas to get themselves attuned accordingly. Although, the neigbouring urban areas have opened a wide range of employment opportunities for the residents of peri-urban areas but they have to compete with the urban population to access them. At this juncture, the residents of peri-urban areas need institutes aligned to the need of the employment market and better infrastructure.Rarely any programs are designed in the country to cater to the needs of peri-urban areas. However, after going through a list of program initiated by Ministry of Rural Development, GoI, a program named ‘Provision of Urban Amenities to Rural Areas (PURA)’ which is initiated with a mission of “holistic and accelerated development of compact areas around a potential growth centre in a Gram Panchayat (or a group of Gram Panchayats) through Public Private Partnership (PPP) framework for providing livelihood opportunities and urban amenities to improve the quality of life in rural areas” is found which might cater to the need of the peri-urban areas. The program is specifically designed to provide road connectivity, communication network and knowledge connectivity by establishing professional and Technical institutions. The initial look in the programs’ activities seems to be catering to the requirements of Hinnaki but it needs further research. This will take few more years as the program is still in its pilot phase. Till then, these areas need special attention from development organizations, policy makers, anthropologists, and social researchers.

References:

  1. The Food and Agriculture Organisation in its publication entitled “Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture: A briefing guide for the successful implementation of Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture in Developing Countries and Countries of Transition”. FAO for UN. Rome, Italy. 2001. Retrieved on November 2016 from http://www.fao.org/docs/eims/upload/215253/briefing_guide.pdf
  2. Merriam-webster dictionary has described peri-urban areas as – of or relating to an area immediately surrounding a city or town. (Retrieved on 11th October, 2016 from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/peri%E2%80%93urban)
  3. Refer next paragraph for the definition given by Census for urban/rural areas
  4. As retrieved on 5/10/2016 from http://censusindia.gov.in/Data_Products/Library/Indian_perceptive_link/Census_Terms_link/censusterms.html
  5. Major consideration is given to primary sector, specifically agriculture, while designing a program for a rural area.
  6. Muniraja R (age 31), son of Late Ramachandrappa, is born and brought up in Hinnakki village
  7. The GRAAM team has collected data from Gram Panchayat Office, and through discussions with group of women, men and adolescent, SHG members, People with Disability (PWD), health workers, medical officer and anganwadi workers of the village. In total, the team has interviewed more than 85 people from the village. The project was funded by Aditya Birla Group.
  8. Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (www.kiadb.in)
  9. http://www.kiadb.in/index.php/our-presence/industrial-areas retrieved on 5/10/2016
  10. http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/2002/05/22/stories/2002052200081400.htm as retrieved on 5/10/2016
  11. Electronic City is an Information Technology hub in Anekal taluk,Bangalore District, Karnataka, India.It is one of India’s largest electronic industrial parks, spread over 332 acres (1.3 km²) in KonappanaAgrahara and Doddathogur villages, within Bangalore District. There are approximately 200 IT/ITES companies located in Electronic City.On 18 March 2013, a notification by the Urban Development Department has brought all the phases of Electronic Cityunder the E-City Industrial Township Area.(As retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronics_City on 10/11/2016)
  12. http://www.kiadb.in/index.php/our-presence/industrial-areas
  13. As per our conversations with the residents, the KHB is now selling the land for more than a crore/acre.
  14. As per http://www.dictionary.com, “ truck farm/market garden is a farm or a piece of land for growing of vegetables and fruit for sale, especially to local or nearby market.”
  15. Ragi or finger millet is a cereal crop which extensively grown and consumed in Karnataka.
  16. Based on our focus group discussion with men and women group related to ‘agriculture and employment’
  17. Ibid
  18. NDTV Profit article “Job market picks up in October, Bangalore sees most growth: report” published on November 11, 2013, acquired on November 15, 2016 from http://profit.ndtv.com/news/industries/article-job-market-picks-up-in-october-bangalore-sees-most-growth-report-371905
  19. Based on our focus group discussion with men and women group related to ‘agriculture and employment’
  20. Average growth rate of cars in India is 7.64% in the financial year of 2015-16. http://www.livemint.com/Industry/bulpIdEod7tk9HTftdo9bL/At-764-growth-India-fastest-growing-passenger-car-market.html
  21. http://www.edifyschoolbengaluru.com/
  22. Muniraju R.