Shared by SPARC
CINI in collaboration with PRIA and SPARC organized a consultation in Calcutta where participants from diverse fields, government officials, NGOs, academicians, consultants and community members were invited to share there experiences and bring a diverse perspective on the issues and problems of Urban Poverty. Speakers included Manoj Rai, Director PRIA said that objective of the workshop is to evolve a collective understanding through dialogues on methods and approaches to address the issues of urban poverty in the state where as Mandipa Ghosh , Assistant Director CINI shared the current scenario of Urban Poverty issues in W.Bengal. Sundar Burra, Advisor SPARC shared some of the experiences of JNNURM- BSUP scheme
Mr. Shaktiman Ghosh, Secretary, Hawkers’ Sangram Committee said that there is a need to prioritize the issues of housing and livelihood to address urban poverty. He expressed concern that there are no social security benefits for the informal sector laborers and recommended a social audit to assess the percolation of services and programs. He concluded with mentioning the need of a people’s movement which could bridge the gaps.
Mr. P. Ramesh Kumar, Prin. Sec., Labor Department and Acting Link Officer of the Municipal Affairs Department discussed the urgency of collaborative approach at the civil society level to deal with the issue of urban poverty. He critically analyzed the parameters of liberty. He delivered his speech on city specific strategy formulation to deal with the issues and provide detailing on existing poverty alleviation schemes and initiatives like SJSRY, Social Security Benefit of the unorganized laborer etc. from the government level. He briefed the participants about the new initiatives of the department through establishment of “Employment Bank”. This program has been launched in July, 2012 where government is aiming to open ample employment opportunities for the beneficiaries.
Dr. Paromita Chakraborthy, Jadhavpur Univ shared her concern that there is no protocol and platform in terms of meaningful engagement between Govt. and Civil Society. She stressed on developing modalities of representation and systemic process of development. She reminded everyone of the diversity within communities and mentioned the importance of acknowledging diverse interests of communities to ensure their true inclusion. She spoke on broader dimensions of civil society and its involvement. She also highlighted the importance of conceptual clarity over the concept of urban poor and poverty as a whole at all levels, and to create a forum for joint consultation.
During the discussion the issue of “IDENTITY” and “RECOGNITION” of urban poor came out significantly where community members expressed the plight of not getting birth certificates because the address they have is that of a slum.
9/11/12 Newspaper “Bhorer Barta” has published an article which says that there are still many people in West Bengal who do not have their Identity cards. This fact is revealed by CINI (Child in Need Institute). They stated that there are thousands of people who are living on streets around the city but are unable to access the facilities provided under Govt. schemes as they do not possess identity cards.