They have benefited to a large extent from the boom of the past few years, but need to get their act together to draw investment and attention away from the tier I cities. What is needed is a concerted plan of action to improve infrastructure and governance. These cities will over the next few years grow in importance and in a range of areas. Many of these cities were in the past specializing in a few sectors and industries; but with growing population and large-scale in-migration, they are steadily growing in the range of activities that are undertaken within and in their vicinity. The bulk of these cities have quite poor public infrastructure (since serious urban investment in the past has been limited to state capitals); but that is already changing rapidly. Supply always finds a way to meet the demand, even if the governments are unresponsive. High incomes in Indore, for instance, and availability of credit led to high auto demand; when the urban government could not provide that, residential areas started to put up their own roads.
Residents of Patna are working with the government for improved law and order, the industrial community in Ludhiana is working to improve the city, and there are many such examples. Cities such as Coimbatore and Surat in the past have already shown how tier II towns are slowly but steadily creating communities that will one day totally change India’s urban landscape.
These cities currently are much smaller than the top metros, but many have per capita incomes that are higher than those in the top metros, and most of them have sustained double digit growth. It is only a matter of time before they become important metros in their own right.