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Why India's top cities matter

February 11, 2009

The reason for this is quite clear once you look at the data closely.

NCAER's annual survey of households across the country shows that around 51 per cent of the households in the top 20 cities have at least one graduate (that means, at least a tenth of the population in these cities consists of graduates); the figure is 38 per cent for other cities, and the number is just 15 per cent in the villages.

As a result, nearly 49 per cent of those employed in the top 20 cities tend to have salaried jobs, and another 32 per cent are self-employed. In comparison, the other cities and rural areas, which have a smaller proportion of graduates, tend to have a much smaller proportion of either the salaried or those who are self-employed - 32 per cent of those in the other cities are salaried and the figure is just 10 per cent in villages; in the case of the self-employed in non-agriculture, the figure is 30 per cent for smaller towns and a mere 11 per cent in rural India.

Image: Communist Party of India (Marxist) supporters hold their party flags during a public rally in Kolkata. | Photograph: Jayanta Shaw/Reuters.

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