India has 34% of urban population as of 2017 and is expected to increase to 52% by 2050, beside this development process we are neglecting the urban poor and led to formation of the slums. A slum is usually highly populated urban residential area consisting mostly of closely packed, deteriorated housing and incomplete infrastructure. A slum is a part of city or town where many poor people live and do not have access to the basic needs. Slums are an integral part of urbanisation and are increasing due to rise in population. Slums remain unplanned and remains ignored in the whole process of the urban development. Slum act a magnet for rural poor in a sense that they will get a employment and attracts towards a city life and also due to rising prices of land make them to stay in slums as it is not affordable to them. People living in slums are prone to waterborne diseases like typhoid and cholera due to lack in basic infrastructure facilities like sanitation, lack in healthcare facilities, open drains and improper water supply. Slums also faces many social issues like hunger, malnutrition, lack in education facilities, child labour, child trafficking and beggary. Slum dwellers earn there livings from the informal sector which is not enough for decent living and make them stuck in viscous cycle of poverty.
One of the main reason for forming the slums is the poverty and rise in population that force the urban poor to live in the slums. Also lack in healthcare facilities, infrastructure and employment in rural areas create rural to urban migration, thus increasing the population density and pressurize the urban poor to move into slums. Also there is huge demand for land with increasing urban population and this shortage of land make urban poor to live in slums in this urbanization process. Rising material and labour cost resulting from labour shortage is another reason for the growth of the slums as it make developers unable to deliver affordable housing to the market. Delayed procedure for the land development is also one of the main reason for creation of the slums. Slum area are commonly believed to be places that generates a high incidences of crime due to neglect towards education, law and order, and government services in slum area. A lack of efficiency of Urban local bodies coupled with unplanned city management is also one of the main reason for creation of the slums.
According to Census 2011, 65.6 million population lived in slum in India, which constituted 17.4% of Urban population of States/UTs in India. In 2017, based on studies and report it was predicted to rise in slum population to 104 million. The slums are integral part of urbanization and this increasing population of slum will create escalating challenge for the planners in order to manage this increase in number of slum dwellers. Many schemes, policies and development programmes haves been prepared in order to upgrade, eradicate poverty and clear the slums across the country till present like Indira Awas Yojana in 1990, EWS housing scheme for Beedi workers and Hamals in 1991, National Slum development programme in 1996, A two million housing programme for EWS in 1998, PM Gramin Awas Yojana in 2000, Valmiki Ambedkar Awas Yojana in 2001, JNNURM (BSUP and IHSDP) in 2005, Swachh Bharat Mission for improving cleanliness and sanitation in 2014, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana in 2015 and AMRUT scheme to build a gap between infrastructural necessity and there accessibility in 2015 but, the question arises that why this policies, schemes and development programmes are not implemented till date by the administration and the planners?? and why this slum areas are neglected in the urban development process across the country and leading to creation of the slums?? The population migrate from rural to urban areas for employment opportunities to earn better income for livelihood purpose and experience city life, is rural poor don’t have the right to get an access to basic needs like housing even though the policies and slum development programmes are prepared and is it not the responsibility of Urban Local Bodies to get this programmes implemented so that urban poor will have access to housing. Recently, an industrialist Ratan Tata said that for the first time in India’s low value structure in close proximity to each other are the cause of new problems during this battle against COVID-19. He also said that why we are creating a community that we are ashamed of and planners need to focus on solving the problems. He also said that we are looking forward to move slums 20 miles away, where vertical slums will be built for better hygiene, open space, fresh air and reduction of close proximity and vacant land can be used for building high value housing. Dharavi the Asia’s largest slum in Mumbai with an area of 2.5 Sq.km and population of about 7 Lakh in which there is close proximity and low rise high density housing, if the planner and urban local bodies focus on increasing the FSI of the area and promoting the vertical built structures in form of policy and schemes, the remaining vacant land can be used for promoting healthcare, education, sanitation and public spaces. This will reduce close proximity, create a hygienic atmosphere and solve the problem of shortage of land for building affordable housing in the slum area and urban poor will have access to basic needs across the country. There is also need for future policies to support the livelihoods of the urban poor by enabling urban informal sector activities to flourish and develop. Slum policies should be integrated with broader, people focused urban poverty reduction policies that will address the various dimension of poverty. Slums should be considered as part of development process and there is need to seek active participation of poor people in development.
Recently, the Government of Maharashtra announced that every SRA (Slum Rehabilitation Authority) project will have one healthcare facility for easy proximity and accessibility. Slum should be developed because developing the slums also trigger local economic development, improve urban mobility, connectivity, fulfil basic needs and integrate the slums, which are enormous economically productive spheres, into the physical and socio-economic fabric of the wider city. Planners and Urban Local bodies should focus and take a pledge on upgrading, clearing the slum with proper coordination and should not let the formation of slums in future and fulfil the basic needs of Urban poor by implementing schemes and policies if they are prepared.
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