For the cause of Slum Dwellers and Homeless!

The Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA) Kumari Selja has said that as ‘Land’ and ‘Colonization’ are State subjects, it is the primary responsibility of the States to provide housing and sanitation facilities to all the economically poor and marginalized families belonging to the Scheduled Tribes including those who are not even listed in the Below Poverty Line (BPL) Index.

In a written reply in the Lok Sabha Kumari Selja said, that MOHUPA has been supplementing the efforts of State Governments through the following schemes and programme interventions:

i. The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), supports provision of housing and basic services to urban poor in slums in 65 specified cities under the Sub Mission Basic Services to the Urban Poor (BSUP) and in other cities and towns under the Integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme (IHSDP). The provision of basic civic amenities including water supply, sewerage, drainage, community toilets/baths etc. are admissible components under the BSUP and IHSDP.

ii. First phase of ‘Rajiv Awas Yojana’ (RAY), provides for financial assistance to States that are willing to assign property rights to slum dwellers for provision of decent shelter and basic civic and social services is being provided.

iii. The Interest Subsidy Scheme for Housing the Urban Poor (ISHUP) provides for interest subsidy @ 5 % on housing loans to the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) and Low Income Group (LIG).

iv. The Revised Integrated Low Cost Sanitation Scheme (ILCS) is implemented with the objective of conversion of all reported dry latrines and thereby to liberate manual scavengers from inhuman practice of carrying night soil. 25% of funds were earmarked for new construction of toilets for Economically Weaker Section (EWS) households who have no latrines. Unit cost of construction of toilets with superstructure is Rs.10,000/- (Rs.12,500/- for North Eastern States and hilly areas). Government of India’s share is 75%, 15%is State share and 10% is beneficiary share. Projects for conversion of reported 2,51,963 dry latrines and construction of 1,55,937 new toilets to the Economically Weaker Section households have been sanctioned as on date.

Kumari Selja said, Ministry of Urban Development has launched Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) with a view to provide central assistance for creating urban infrastructure facilities including water supply and sanitation for urban population in the country including the EWS and socially backward classes. The sanitation projects are implemented on whole town basis to cover entire population in the cities.

Though, little has been done to address homelessness in India. While the focus of policy and development has been on building affordable housing or upgrading slums, assisting the situation of the extremely poor is more challenging, complex and less likely to have a straightforward solution. Consequently, the cities’ most vulnerable residents are forced to sleep under flyovers, on sidewalks, in drainage pipes or out in the open. Even slum housing is unaffordable to this group, which includes day laborers, migrant workers, single women and children. They are subjected to violence and harassment, and live a precarious existence with little access to basic services. The issues of water and sanitation, education, healthcare and safety that afflict the daily lives of slum dwellers are magnified for the homeless. In a study of homeless populations, street-dwelling men, women and children in four Indian cities reported that they were beaten by the police at night and driven away from their make-shift homes or shelters on a regular basis.

“The government has done precious little to build a comprehensive policy on urban homelessness or even conducted a proper census of the homeless,” says Delhi-based NGO, Aashray Adhikar Abhiyan, fighting for the rights of the city’s homeless. Terraurban also recently shared the plight of the homeless being stacked in ‘tin shelters’ by the Delhi Government.

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One thought on “For the cause of Slum Dwellers and Homeless!

  1. Alok Pandey May 24, 2012 at 8:43 am Reply

    Great. Al least the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA), Government of India has realised that land and housing (Colonisation) are state subjects. Hope Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India will also understand it and try to rework on Indira Awas Yojana (as it is also a housing scheme for rural poor).

    Again, in my opinion, the MoHUPA, Government of India should take a call from the learning that are coming up from the (Jawarharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) (launched by the Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India) and try to give more emphasis on the institutional development at the city level.

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