According to Census 2011, 10 states in the country account for about 85% of total slum households. The top 5 states account for about 65% of total slum households- Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Madhya Pradesh. About 50% of urban slum dwellers do not have within house premise in Maharashtra, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Delhi. About 40% of these states as well practice open defecation including Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. At All India level, 36% of urban slum dwellers do not have basic services like electricity, tap water and sanitation. Ever increasing urban population and ever undermining powers and authorities of elected representatives makes lives of urban poor more miserable as powerful authorities don’t hear them and have no capacity to deliver development.
To take these efforts forward, a State Consultation on ‘Urban Poor: Contribution and Challenges is being organized by PRIA Raipur on the 4th March’ 2014 in Red Cross Bhavan in Raipur, Chhattisgarh. Main objective of consultation was to share PRIA’s report on Socio-Economic contribution of Urban Poor in Chhatiisgarh and highlighting importance of urban poor population among various political parties contesting for upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
This consultation aims to bring together different stakeholders who play a crucial role in the governance and management of cities as well as those who are engaged on issues of urban governance, especially urban poverty. Consultation had major political parties and senior bureaucrats as a panelists and informal settlers and civil society as an audience. It is envisaged that the participation of various stakeholders and the enriching deliberations over the one day would lead to some critical and important recommendations to be then taken up as the next step forward.
Mr. Dhandole, Senior Programe Officer, welcomed the participants of the consultation on behalf of PRIA. He gave brief overview of the session and briefly narrated purpose of consultation.
Mr. Manoj Rai, Director, PRIA, Delhi gave detailed overview of the session and mentioned urban poverty scenario in India. He requested participants to discuss not only the emerging issues but related issues also and informed that there is a Forum for Informal Urban Poor Workers (FIUPW) which is a platform of twenty eight federations and associations working in informal sectors. Adding further he gave brief overview of all three commencing sessions. Mr. Rai shared brief outline of recent study which has been conducted by PRIA in 50 major cities of India. Study estimates that urban poor do contribute more than 7.56% to urban GDP of India. He further said PRIA’s study has been discussed in Lok Sabha and it has created buzz in political corridors.
Deepika Pandey in her presentation highlighted the role of Socio economic contribution of urban poor in Chhattisgah. She briefed audience with outcomes of PRIA’s study. She highlighted role of income distribution of Raipur urban poor, basic facilities and voting percentage.
Income Distribution of Raipur Urban Poor
|Household Percentage||Average Income||Expenditure|
|8%||10,000 to 20,000||79%|
|1%||20,000 to 30,000||82%|
|93||State Legislative Elections|
|92||Lok Sabha Elections|
|Ration Card||70% Families|
|Aadhar Card||34.6% Urban Poor|
|Voter Card||92% People|
|Bank Account||38% Families|
Her presentation clearly mentioned current status of Raipur urban poor. It was quite evident that urban poor very enthusiastically participate in voting and almost all households have voter cards. It shows urban poor are using their rights efficiently. She has also highlighted status of urban services and various welfare benefits in Raipur.
Suman Bhanoo highlighted brief outline of manifesto that has been prepared by FIUPW members and narrated four important demands from upcoming government;
Dr. Hunamant Yadav, Ex. Advisor of State Planning Commission & Economist, Chhattisgarh shared his thoughts on urban issues. He appreciated PRIA’s work on neglected section of society. He said that, “Provision of identity card to informal settlers and informal settlements is an important issue which needs considerations. Informal settlers are usually migrants who neither possess aadhar card nor identity card. Employment and social securities are other important issues for informal settlers. Institutions of urban governance are constantly battling with these challenges, as rising urbanization is also leading to increasing ‘urbanization of the poverty’. Urban poverty possess the problems of housing and shelter, water, sanitation, health, education, social security, and livelihoods along with special needs of vulnerable groups like women, children and aged people”.
He said PRIA should conduct workshop with parshads so that they will get awareness on various issues associated to the much unaddressed urban fabric.
Mr. Sanjoy Sammandar, Project Director, IIHMR highlighted the role of rag pickers and waste pickers. He said that, “Rag pickers play major role in urban area. They directly indirectly contribute to the society and in return they hardly get anything. Government hardly cares about them and there are no such education opportunities for their kids. Since they are migrants and keep moving from one place to another place which affects their children’s education”. Through this platform he urged policy makers to consider this issue seriously. Further he said poorest to poor section should be surveyed deeply. He said there is a sheer need to conduct study on “economic shock” that is impact of inflation on urban poor. In closing note he asked politicians to add target based agenda in their manifesto and there should be clear cut approach towards attaining set targets.
Political Inputs on Manifesto
Mr. Sadanand Markandey, State President of B.S.P started the session by highlighting his party’s previous achievement and blamed current government for its non-serious attitude. Further he promised after getting into power their party will work on;
Smt. Prabha Dubey, State Vice-President of B.J.P narrated past achievements of their government and said her party will not make unrealistic promises and promised following thing on which their party will work after getting into power:
- Provide basic amentias; roti, kapda, makan to all urban poor
- Strictly take action on railway issues
- Provide toilets to railway slums
Mr. Sandeep Tiwari, District Secretary, Aam Admi Party said, “Main reason behind urban slum formation is migration of villagers from rural area to urban area. Forced evictions are main threats for slum dwellers, first thing we need to do is to stop it. Urban rehabilitation policy draft needs to be prepared”. He didn’t make any promise but emphasized on accountability and decentralization of power.
Dr. Sushil Trivedi, Ex. State Election Commissioner, Chhattisgarh in his closing remarks said, “Few days’ back Supreme Court has given guidelines to election commission that all political parties manifesto will fall under code of conduct and they have to fulfill all promises that have been mentioned in their party manifest”. He welcomed supreme courts fair judgment and considers it as a democratic move. He showed his support towards Dr. Yadav’s social security agenda and Mr. Tiwari’s people participation concept. He acknowledged common man’s power and agreed on fact that common man has more knowledge than MLA/MP/IAS.
He congratulated PRIA for its brilliant take and said such consultations will definitely challenge Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha’s functioning.
Indu Sahoo, Director Chetna gave vote of thanks and thanked all panelist and participants for their active participation.