In India and in Bihar, the urban poor are theoretically entitled to a certain amount of social security schemes. Pensions (for widows, physically-challenged citizens, students, etc…), training programs, and even infrastructural assistance are supposed to be provided by the government to answer the urgent needs of these highly marginalized populations. However, despite this legal framework apparently favorable to poorer citizens, the reality is actually not as shining as it appears. The degree of penetration of State endeavors still remains relatively poor among marginalized communities. In Biharsharif, for instance, field researches conducted by PRIA showed 40% of the potential beneficiaries of the widow pension scheme do not get any paisa from the State.
Keeping this in view, an interface between slum dwellers and the state was organized in Biharsharif and Patna City, under the project ‘Strengthening Civil Society Voices on Urban Poverty in India’, which modestly aimed at filling the information gap and generating a dynamic dialogue between different stakeholders.
This process of interface witnessed a presence of various stakeholders viz. Municipal Commissioner (BMC), Mayor (BMC), Dy. Mayor (Patna), Elected Representatives from various wards (BIharshairf and Patna) official from directorate of social security, media houses. The event served as a platform where citizens had the opportunity to share directly their worries, interrogations and needs with their representatives.