Slums in India
{Representational Image]Reuters

A World Bank report on Thursday stated that cities in South Asian countries, including India, are a "messy affair".

Among the very poorest in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan, the mortality rate for children under the age of 5 is higher in urban areas as compared to rural localities, according to the report that has been titled as 'Leveraging urbanisation in South Asia'.

The report also states that South Asia's cities have remarkable levels of polluted air.

"In Delhi, recorded air pollution is almost three times higher than in Beijing, giving it the dubious distinction of being the world's most polluted city," the World Bank report says, according to Business Standard.

Despite accounting for 14% of the world's urban population, South Asia contributed to just 8% of the global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2011. South Asian countries also include Afghanistan, Bhutan, the Maldives and Sri Lanka.

In contrast, East Asian countries -- China, Hong Kong, Japan, Mongolia, North & South Korea and Taiwan -- accounted for 29% of the global GDP.

The report said that messy urbanisation in India is "reflected" in urban slums, where about 65.5 million people live (as per the 2011 Census). Apart from this, 13.7% of the people living in urban India were below the poverty line.

"Mismanaged cities are also reflected in the increasing sprawl that afflicts many Indian cities," the report said.

"Hidden urbanisation is seen in the large share of India's population that lives in settlements that possess urban characteristics but do not satisfy the criteria required to be officially classified as urban," it observed.

Also read