Our upbringing has always been focused towards attainting ‘security’. Study, earn money and ‘be secure’. Most of us do manage to reach this is idea of security. But imagine living in a constant sense of fear, expectation and the unknown. Imagine living according to the whims of others. Imagine living in the hands of poverty!
Poverty is this phenomenon of ‘unknown’. You never know what you would be hit with the next moment! Recently team from PRIA went to Bandhu basti in B6 Vasant Kunj to undertake a slum mapping exercise. Before we began our work, we all were chatting and discussing the ‘fire’ that struck another nearby basti just few days ago. One of the social worker who had been actively working in the slum that caught fire was informing us about all the rehabilitation work that is going on. Interestingly he mentioned that the first to reach the slum after the accident (or maybe incident) was the Lieutenant Governor himself. This gave a lot of hope to the community and there has been a positive movement towards rehabilitation – clothes, foods, material for construction are being sent to this basti. Some ‘compensation’ by the government shall also be given.
Then the very next day one read of the possible ‘Land Mafia’ that might have resulted in this incident. A planned move by the local goons who grab vacant land in Vasant Kunj and give it on rent to the migrants to build their shanties. Now that the rebuilding exercise is on, they are back again charging ‘new rent’. For sure this is no ‘new episode’ for the slum dwellers. At some point or the other they know that they will be evicted. Either by the goons or by the government. In Bandhu basti where we were working a lady told us that the entire basti had filled forms for Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) last year and submitted Rs 100 each to the government. However there hasn’t even been a preliminary survey in this basti. According to her, RAY is just for the TVs! Nothing on ground ever happens!
What is the difference between Bandhu Basti and the slum that was burnt in Vasant Kunj? None really! In one the government has failed them and in the other the private has extorted them. Poor forever remain trapped!
But then George Bernard Shaw taught us:
You are going to let the fear of poverty govern your life and your reward will be that you will eat, but you will not live.
Are the poor in your city really living?!
Those who are active on the social networks often like to ‘Check In’ to the places they visit using GPS on their smart phones in order to flaunt their hang outs. Some people also find it fascinating to mark their homes on the Google Earth.
Such privileges are not available to those whose place of dwelling doesn’t even exist on the map. People of JJ Cluster Bandhu Camp at B-5 Vasant Kunj are changing this reality with the help of PRIA and its partner organization Jhuggi Jhopri Ekta Manch.
A team from PRIA visited the slum cluster recently to involve the community in the GPS mapping of their slum. A team of SIC (Slum Improvement Committee) and volunteers have been formed who would lead this initiative which would put the slum on Google Earth along with records such as how many families live there, what is the total population, how many toilets are there, how many families have ration card, voter ID card, Smart Card etc.
A temple at JJ Cluster Bandhu Camp at B-5 Vasant Kunj
The initiative is a part of PRIA’s ‘Strengthening voices of civil society on urban poverty issues’ project which is running in several other cities across the country. The main objectives behind the initiative is to make the slums and its people visible, to collect and archive data about the slum, so that in case of any accidents or calamities the inhabitants are able to access the Government’s rescue and rehabilitation schemes without any hindrance. The community itself is being involved in the initiative so that they have a sense of ownership and belonging, they would learn to use the GPS device and would have an identity related to the place they live.
A community member reading about GPS device and how it work
Read more at : http://pria.org/index.php/blogs/pria-blog/item/2900-we-are-putting-the-slums-on-the-map
PRIA along with its partners has been working across the country to ‘Strengthen voices of civil society on urban poverty issues’. This process is facilitated by a community led mapping of urban poor settlements by the resident community itself. The aim is to empower the community with self knowledge and a platform for negotiation with the service providers. Once the community has an authentic set of data, that is even available in the public domain, the community holds the power to communicate, demand and obtain its ‘rights’ from the government.
With help of local NGOs and Settlement Improvement Committee that have been formulated in each ‘intervening’ urban poor settlement, PRIA has equipped with community with a GPS instrument, given the necessary training to operate the instrument and given regular hand holding to the community for the survey.
In Bhopal, GPS mapping has been done in five slums of Deeksha Nagar, Gautam Nagar, Om Nagar, Sanjay Nagar and Shri Ram Nagar in 2013 with assistance of local State NGO – Samarthan, Bhopal. The survey carried out beyond physically locating each slum and its physical characteristics, identifies household information including the status of water and sanitation, displacement and education in these slums. In this activity youth volunteers were identified from each slum and trained on using the GPS instrument. Then with the help of expert each household in the slum was depicted on google earth map. These maps were also shared with ward councilor and municipal community organizers, so that in future if they plan some infrastructure in these slums they may understand the situation of existing resources available in slum and their distribution in each lane of slum. The youth members that participated in mapping process are engaged in other community development work too as volunteers and in future they may take up other initiative of development in their slum also.
A similar exercise has been carried out in Bhojpura basti in Jaipur. The map can be accessed at : https://www.google.com/maps/ms?msid=206436946251815631253.0004f72622b8ebd7b01cb&msa=0&ll=26.897159,75.792537&spn=0.001457,0.002642
Urbanity as an idea doesn’t come easy to us Indians right now. We have been told that India is a land of villages and urban has always been looked upon as the ‘other’. This however is far from the reality. India has been one of the first countries that can boast of a ‘civilisation’ and formation of a ‘society ‘as seen in the Indus valley civilisation.
An urban society is a heterogeneous construct that through its behavioural and societal traits learns to live together in amiability and a common rationale. Also, it is my conviction that an intrinsic part of this heterogeneity is the element of ‘poche’ or the interior and sometimes hidden. And it is this ‘interior urbanity’ which is quintessential urban in the India context and also significant, such that it gives our cities a unique layered flavour.
Recently, I attended a discussion ‘Meaningful City in India’ where the panellists were trying to theorise the rationale of the present day city and what then is the ‘meaning’ of the city. Each panellist chose an aspect that they were aiming to ‘include’ in the city construct to dwell upon. From the present day city that is primarily designed for automobile and ignores the pedestrian, a city which doesn’t guarantee safety to women, a city that is unequal and unjust and promotes exclusion either because of income, caste, class or religion, to also a city that despite of these ‘injustices’ grants an anonymity that an urban dweller seeks, grants a freedom and individuality that he might not have enjoyed in a rural setup where the family and societal ties are much greater.
I believe that in case of the urban poor, this exclusivity takes form of an urban poche or the interior urbanity that runs adjacent to the ‘other’ city but resides in ‘left over pockets’ of the city. Poverty dwells in the no-man’s land of the city, which have not been defined in the ‘official master plan’ of the city. These spaces are land next to the railway line, land under the high tension wire, and land near a storm water drain or even an open sewer, ghettoes, unconstructed plots, ecologically sensitive areas such as near a pond, river or the ridge. These areas which were left ‘white’ and un-defined in the master plan adapt a new identity and morphology and in large sense become an underlying skeleton for the city and are essential for the functioning of the city.
Read more at:
Anand lakhan, Deen Bandhu Samaj Sahyog , Indore (M.P)
The Power of Collective ‘Voice’ of the ‘Indore’s Labour Community’
As other states & cities, Indore is also facing the parliament election. In every election different parties always give word of mouth reassurance and after winning the election, they don’t even bother to come back and see the condition of our people. This time the people from different community also changed their strategy with these seasonal frogs. The newly formed SIC’s of different slum communities decided to generate their own “RIGHT DEMAND CHARTER“ in front of all the parties’ candidate.
बस्ती विकास महासंघ, इन्दौर
57 सी, सूयदेव नगर, केट रोड इन्दौर ए मो.नं. 9893642880
अधिकार मांग – पत्र
इन्दौर शहर के मेहनतकश गरीब मजदूर बस्तीवासी अपने जन-प्रतिनिधियों से क्या चाहते है ?
इन्दौर शहर मध्यप्रदेश की व्यवसायिक राजधानी है। भारत में इन्दौर शहर 14वां स्थान रखता है। 2021 तक इन्दौर शहर की जनसंख्या 35 लाख तक होने की संभावना है। पीथमपुर और देवास जैसे औद्योगिक क्षेत्रो के करीब होने की वजह से, पिछले दो दशकों में इन्दौर की जमीनों के भावों में एकदम से उछाल आया है। लोगो ने बाहर से आकर शहर मंे पूँजी लगाना शुरू की है। फिर चाहे मास्टर प्लान हो या कोई अन्य विकास योजना ये सब ही एक विशिष्ट वर्ग को फायदा देती नजर आती है। इन बीते वर्षो में कई योजनाएँ शहरवासियों पर विकास के नाम पर थोपी गई। इन योजनाओ से शहर का भला हुआ हो या नही, लेकिन सत्यानाश जरूर हुआ है। इन बीते वर्षो मंे शहर मे गरीबी बढ़ी है, घटी नहीं, बेरोजगारी का ऐसा आलम है कि आर्थिक तंगी को लेकर आत्महत्या के मामले बढ़ते ही जा रहे है। इन योजनाओ को लागू होेने से पहले ही हमे इन पर रोक लगानी होगी, उनमें शहर के गरीब वर्ग के लिए भी स्थान सुनिश्चित करना होगा।
इन्दौर शहर की कुल जनसंख्या का 65ः गरीब मजदूर बस्तियों में निवास करता है, जो शहर की कुल आवासीय एवं व्यवसायिक भूमि का 5ः हिस्सा उपयोग करता है। इन्दौर शहर के आर्थिक विकास में इस तबके का योगदान 50ः से भी ऊपर है, ये शहर निर्माता शहर को चलाते है, दौड़ाते है एवं बनाते है। शहर के विकास में इतना बड़ा योगदान होने के बावजूद भी इस वर्ग की शहर में मौजूद संसाधनंांे में हिस्सेदारी 5ः या उससे भी कम है, फिर चाहे बात उनके सर पर स्थित छत के स्थायित्व की हो या उनसे जुड़ी हुई मूल भूत सुविधाओं एवं सेवाओ, जैस शुद्ध पेयजल, भरपूर बिजली, स्वरोजगार की व्यवस्था, प्राथमिक शिक्षा एवं स्वास्थ्य केन्द्र, स्वच्छ एवं सुरक्षित शौचालयो, बेहतर सुविधाओं वाले कम्युनिटी हाॅल। ये सभी सुविधाओं से वंचित है।
इस 65ः मेहनतकश तबके को सिर्फ वोट बैंक समझा जाता है। हर पाँच वर्ष में ये तबका वोट के रूप में अपने अधिकारों की आहुति देता आया है एवं चुनाव के बाद, चुने हुए जनप्रतिनिधियों द्वारा पूरी तरह नजर अंदाज किया जा रहा है। हमारे चुने हुए जनप्रतिनिधियों को यह पता होना चाहिए कि वे हमारे द्वारा चुने हुए होते है और उनकी भूमिका, हमारे विकास हेतु, हमारे एवं प्रशासन के मध्य एक सेतु की होती है।
लेकिन इस बार की आहुति में इन्दौर शहर के मेहनतकश बस्तीवासियों ने तय किया है कि वे अपने जन-प्रतिनिधियों के सामने एक विशेष अधिकार मांग – पत्र रखेंगे, एवं जो उम्मीदवार इस मांँग पत्र पर अपनी सहमति प्रदान करेगा उसे ही अपना बहुमूल्य वोट देगे। इस अधिकार माँग पत्र के माध्यम से हम यह भी दर्शाना चाहते है कि हम हितग्राही न होकर अधिकारी हैं।
हमारी अधिकारीक मांगे निम्न है रू
1. बस्ती में ही प्राथमिक शिक्षा केन्द्र स्थापित किए जाए।
2. बिजली के अनियंत्रित एवं अधिक राशि के बिलो पर नियंत्रण किया जाए।
3. बस्ती के समीप स्थित शराब की दुंकाने बन्द कराई जाए।
4. शुद्ध पेयजल की व्यवस्था की जाए।
5. बिना किसी औपचारिकता के गरीबी रेखा के नीचे के कार्ड बनाए जाए।
6. शहरी गरीबो को केन्द्र एवं राज्य सरकारों द्वारा दिए जाने वाले ऋण तुरन्त प्रदान किया जाए।
7. बस्ती की युवा लड़कियों एवं महिलाओं के लिए स्वरोजगार के प्रशिक्षण एवं ऋण की व्यवस्था की जाए।
8. सभी बस्तीयों में महिलाओं के सम्मान की रक्षा के लिए स्वच्छ एवं निःशुल्क शौचालयों एवं स्नानघरो का निर्माण किया जाए।
9. बस्ती कार्यकर्ताओं की राजनीतिक पार्टीयों में अहम् भूमिका एवं सहभागिता सुनिश्चित की जाए।
10. बस्ती के रहवासियों एवं उक्त क्षेत्र के पुलिस कर्मियों के मध्य एक कमेटी गठित की जाए।
11. केन्द्र एवं राज्य सरकारो द्वारा निर्धारित सभी सामाजिक सुरक्षा पेंशनो को बिना लालफिताशाही के तुरन्त दिलवायी जाए।
12. सभी मजदूर बस्तीयों में समय – समय पर सरकारी योजनाओं, सुविधाओं एवं सेवाओं से संदर्भित केम्प लगाए जाए।
विशेष अधिकार बिन्दुं
1. नगरीय स्तर पर बस्ती विकास महासंघ, इन्दौर की सहभागिता से स्लम पाॅलिसी बनाई जाए।
2. बस्तीयांे के विकास के लिए नगरीय स्तर पर कमेटी गठित की जाए।
3. विकास के लिए गठित कमेटी में बस्ती विकास महासंघ को शामिल किया जाए।
4. बस्तीयों की अवैध बेदखली एवं विस्थापन तुरन्त रोका जाए।
5. वर्तमान की सभी बस्तीयों के रहवासियों को तुरन्त मालिकाना हक देते हुए स्थायित्व प्रदान करे।
6. शहर में बाहर से आए हुए मजदूरो को चिन्हित कर हर वर्ष रहवासी पट्टे प्रदान किए जाए।
7. कमजोर वर्गो के लिए आरक्षित 15ः भूमि के प्रावधान को उसके मूल स्वरूप में लागू किया जावे एवं इस प्रावधान में पुर्नस्थापित बस्तीयों को तुरन्त रजिस्ट्री प्रदान की जावे।
And they told all the candidates to give in writing; they should sign the demand letter. The joined group of community & college youth took the initiatives; they went to the community peoples and motivate them to write their own demand on long sheet.
The campaign started from 15th April to 20th April . Around 12 sheets of demand was filled from ten communities (Anna Bhau Sathe Nagar, Chikitsak Nagar, Vidhyasagar Nagar – 140 no scheme, New Suryadev Nagar, Daak-Taar Colony, Surydev Nagar Purani Basti, Budh Nagar, Indrajeet Nagar, Rahul Gandhi Nagar & Panchsheel Nagar)
Following which the common demands was identified and on 22nd April submitted before the candidates under the “Slum development federation”. This is the first time, when weaker section of the city has given their own demand letter to the party candidates.
8. जे.एन.एन.यू.आर.एम. के अन्तर्गत निर्माण किए गए भवनो के वितरण में पारदर्शिता रखी जाए।
9. एरोड्रम स्थित पंचशील नगर के रहवासियों को तुरन्त जे.एन.एन.यू.आर.एम. के भवनो मंे स्थानांतरित किया जाए।
10. वेम्बे एवं जे.एन.एन.य.ूआर.एम. के तहत् बनाए गए भवना में स्थानांतरित किया गए परिवारों से बी.पी.एल.कार्ड वापस नहीं लिया जाए।
11. राजीव आवास योजना के तहत् बनने वाले भवनो को निर्माण बहुमंजिला न होकर एकल ईकाई का निर्माण रहवासियों की सहमति एवं सहभागिता से किया जाए।
12. शहर में निर्मित आश्रय स्थलो में शहरी बेघरो की उपल्बधता सुनिश्चित की जाए।
13. स्ट्रीट वेंडरस ( प्रोटेक्षन ऑफ लाइवलीहुड एण्ड रेग्युलेशन ऑफ स्ट्रीट वेंडींग ) एक्ट 2014
Swathi Subramaniam, PRIA
Education is an important aspect for the foundation of growing children. Education is also important for any country to develop. We need to ask ourselves whether every child in the country has access to quality education. Does the education of poor urban children get equal importance? Just as a country gives measures its development through construction of buildings, roads, bridges etc there has to be equal emphasis on education of poor urban children as well.
What is the present situation of schooling in India for the urban poor? The options available are government schools, municipality schools, aided schools. The quality of education needs drastic improvement in all these schools.
The infant (0-6 years) age group among urban poor gets very little attention. As many of the urban poor women are work for their livelihoods their children get very little attention due to poor support system. They stay back on situations only on days when there is no work. While the children of middle class households go to pre schools and play schools. But the children of informal urban poor stay in the Anganwadis. Before Anganwadis came there were Jhoola Ghar for the infants.
The children are the easy prey for many social evils when they are not taken care of. In secure environment gives rise to such social evils such as sexual abuse, trafficking etc. The fear of eviction of slums affects mostly children.
Here comes the demand and need for affordable crèches. Every slum should have the facility for a crèche. The urban poor have big families and hence the need for crèches is even greater. As per information available: there are 12.52 lakhs Anganwadi Centres (AWCs)/mini-AWCs. Out of these 6.30 lakh (50.28%) AWCs are reported to have toilet facilities, 8.90 lakh (71.05%) AWCs have drinking water facilities within the premises and 3.55 lakh (28.34%) AWCs have separate kitchen as on 31.12.2012.
A regular monitoring and reporting of their functioning must be carried out to know how effectively they are serving their purpose.
Stories from Delhi Slums
Sheela has 4 daughters. The eldest one is 8 years old and does not go to school as she has to take care of her younger sisters. This responsibility to baby sit her younger sister has been forced on the elder daughter despite her tender age. Ideally the elder sister should be going to a regular school and the younger on to a crèche. There was an unfortunate situation once when the elder sister was away for sometime (answering nature’s call) and the younger sister fell into a runnel.
People in slums feel that private crèches are better than Anganwadis. Many Anganwadis have been opened but they are not running efficiently due to various limitations. For example the Anganwadi Kendra should be opened longer durations as poor laborers may be working for long hours or odd hours. The Anganwadis should have sufficient infrastructure and know how to take care of handicapped infants also.
In Delhi, kidnapping among children is another issue of concern. Large number of kidnapping are reported from slums. According to a recent RTI, 14 children every day are kidnapped from Delhi. This shows the need for a more secure environment for the protection of children.
According to Jawahar Singh, JJEM. Whenever a slum rehabilitation takes place children face huge problem due to relocation as the family falls back into the trap of poverty. In the slum settlements the urban poor organized their living according to things available around. But after the allotment of homes to far off places every aspect of life such as livelihood, transportation, schools, crèches etc need to be rearranged. And many of these facilities are not existing in the new locations. For examples urban poor are allotted homes in Bawana which is 20 kms away from the city. Now since Bawana is less developed urban slum dwellers are being made to shift to that place. At present the place lacks sufficient infrastructure and hence difficulties for the relocated people. As the place starts developing there will be schools, hospitals, roads, education institutes etc then the land prices of Bawana will rise and slums will again be evicted and made to put in a place with least development. This is the cycle of slums in Delhi which the slum dwellers permanently fear. Slums are always formed in the process of urbanization and their sustainability is only possible their livelihood and other social facilities are nearby.
Another thing which has come to notice is less nutritious food among urban poor pregnant women. The poor pregnant women do not get adequate Ante Natal Care and required nutrition supplement.
Right to Food is another issue to be addressed towards specifically urban poor infant and urban poor pregnant ladies.
Many of the private big hospitals have made promise to the Government that 10% of patients will be poor. However its implementation can never be monitored in the present form. Ideally these hospitals can adopt nearby poor slums and reach out to them through mobile units regularly.
It is the responsibility of the Government of India to provide poor people with the opportunities of education at all levels. The poor who are able and willing to send their children to the schools and colleges should be provided with the opportunities pursue their education.
The four important aspects for every child are:
First and foremost Government should ensure that no child should be deprived of the above due to their social and economic condition.
Abhishek Jha, PRIA
It’s quite known by now that Government of India’s one of the most ambitious projects Rajiv Awas Yojana (launched in the year 2011) to make India slum free could not live up to people’s expectation. Though there were some considerable progress under this scheme in some of the states but largely it faltered at most of the places, (it seems so at least in the initial phase). If we take the case of Bihar the progress of RAY was even more dismal, in fact it never started because of the reasons which were more political than technical. RAY was a casualty to political demands for declaring Bihar a special category state, since this scheme had different provisions of fund sharing for special category and general states. Nonetheless, this status was never given to Bihar and there was no progress under the scheme. Notably, when the RAY was launched in the country, Government of Bihar prepared a half-baked ‘Bihar State Slum Policy’ in the end of the year 2011 and proudly announced that it is the first state in the county to get a state slum policy passed through its cabinet, but there was (is) no mention of time bound quantified targets and approaches that would be taken in the policy for addressing the needs of urban poor in the state.
Subsequently this political tussle between the state and central government virtually shelved RAY for almost two years in the state, but off late when the political climate across the country changed (thanks to Lok Sabha elections 2014) government of Bihar took some initiatives to launch RAY in the state. At the end of the year 2013 tenders were floated to for hiring agencies for preparing DPRs and Slum Free Plans of Actions for 38 districts headquarter cities of Bihar under RAY and in no time agencies were hired and DPRs were prepared for most of the 38 district headquarter cities of the state, but out of these only few were given a green signal for implementation. Out of those selected also are the two settlements of Patna viz. Adalatganj and Yarpur where in-situ up gradation is being proposed.
Till date all the surveys have been completed, maps of these settlements are being prepared and people living in these settlements are in upbeat mood envisaging that they will have their own homes soon. But interestingly, knowingly or unknowingly all these progresses has not been shared in the public domain, neither in the media nor elsewhere. Now, if we reflect on the performance of BSUP in the state, it goes like this altogether 2 0,372 dwellings units were sanctioned and DPRs were prepared (it had passed all the processes which is being done for RAY now, including soil testing for construction for G+4 structure ), but finally only 544 dwelling units could be constructed. The most dominating reason behind this was issue of land ownership and availability of hassle free land was not established during the preparation of DPRs which consequently affected the whole project and ultimately the urban poor community. In most of the cases there were multiple-owners of a small piece of land, for which DPRs were prepared, being it be in the form deferent government departments or private ownership. Unfortunately state government didn’t take the lessons of previous failure sincerely and have again prepared DPRs under RAY for settlements where land ownership is multiple. The chances of this project hitting a rough patch as well cannot be ruled out, but hopes stay afloat in galore among the projected beneficiaries in the absence of any information.
Swathi Subramaniam, PRIA
The city level studies conducted by PRIA shows that after food, beverages and intoxicants, healthcare is the second highest expenditure component of the city’s urban poor. The study also shows that the urban poor in slums comprises of both unskilled and skilled workers.
Occupational hazards in urban cities is a growing symptom, be it an urban poor, or an urban middle class working in offices. With increasing urbanization, competition, increasing comfort etc the occupational diseases are going to increase only. The differences between the occupational diseases of urban poor and urban rich and middle class are listed below:
The mix of workplaces and nearby settlements increase the health risks its impact remains for generations when major industrial accidents occur (example Bhopal Gas Tragedy).
Health inequity can only be minimized by leveling up the living conditions of the urban poor. The major areas predominantly being the sanitation, water and air. Improving the living conditions is one of the key social determinants of health which where development is all about collectivization.
For developing good health conditions in the work place the following points came to my mind
Perspective of the Industry the following mechanism should be undertaken
- Industry should provide methods of training mechanism for its skilled laborers.
- The industries should be moved away from the residents
- The skilled informal urban settlers should work in environment friendly workplace.
- Provide identity cards for the workers.
- An ideal work place should include
i. Crèches for laborers
ii. Education for the children
iii. Proper Sanitation facilities
iv. Warning sign boards
v. Other facilities etc
vi. Continuous monitoring of medical facilities of the people.
Perspective of an Individual
Personal Protective Equipment
- An enforcing authority for Occupational Health check up
- Awareness programmes for factories which are more prone to accidents.
Perspectives from the Community
- Job security
An individual will be able to function as skilled laborer only when he gets job security and satisfaction. Today the workers are forced to work irrespective of their injury because of lack of alternative jobs. This endangers his life and his long term sustainability. In such industries there should be special provision for the laborer and his family members.
- Education and awareness should be there among the people of community
- Frequent or monthly Medical check ups should be there so that early symptoms of occupational health can be diagnosed and the skilled laborer could be saved from loss of life.
Perspectives from the Government
- Identity card for workers
- The authority should have the repository of database of informal laborers which can enable monitoring
- There should be time limit given for compensation in case of any injuries
i. From the Diagnostic point of view, State and District level should have Occupational Health Centres.
ii. A separate body of authority at State and District level should be developed. There should be a provision for a separate special fund for such compensation.