According to Census 2011, 10 states in the country account for about 85 per cent of total slum households. The top 5 states – Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh – account for about 65 per cent of total slum households. At the All India level, 36 per cent of urban slum dwellers do not have basic services like electricity, tap water and sanitation.
To raise the voices of informal settlers PRIA organized a state level consultation on the Economic Contribution of Urban Poor in Cities- Indore Chapter on 22nd March 2014 in Indore, Madhya Pradesh. The main objective of the consultation was to share PRIA’s report on the Socio-Economic Contribution of Urban Poor in Indore and highlight the importance and concerns of the urban poor among the various political parties contesting for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Consultation was attended by around 85 participants.
The consultation brought together different stakeholders – political parties and senior bureaucrats, informal settlers, academician, students and civil society at one common platform. The participation of various stakeholders and the enriching deliberations led to some critical and important recommendations for policy advocacy and promises by political parties on their election manifestoes.
Mr. Manoj Rai, started the session by posing question on society’s general notion towards informal settlers and use of derogatory terminology for them. He emphasized on providing them proper identity.
Prof Anand highlighted the status and socio-economic contribution of urban poor in Indore. In presentation he briefed the audience with outcomes of PRIA’s study. He highlighted Income distribution of Madhya Pradesh and Indore’s urban poor, basic facilities and their voting percentage. Quoting study he mentioned maximum number of urban poor participates in voting and almost all households have voter card. His presentation was the brief overview of contribution and challenges of urban poor.
Adv Anil Trivedi, AAP, Candidate, talked about the chaotic norms of Madhya Pradesh government’s 15% land laws. Continuing land issues he said, ‘people are struggling hard to get patta, usually all patta lands are in prime location and due which land prices are touching sky high and that’s why govt. is showing reluctance to give it to urban poor”. Mentioning trouble of urban poor he said, ‘malls, metro and MNCs are not city’s development indicator, its development and growth is associated to urban poor, whom we are terribly neglecting”. Further he promised after getting into power their party will work on;
- Domestic workers rights
- Lobbying regarding 15 % land law
Shri Shayam Sunder Yadav, INTUC Highlighted the role of mohalla sabha committee and pointed state government and center government should work on it. He emphasized on importance of forming union and mentioned, ‘In India 45 crore populations composed of labor section and out of which 6.5% are in union and due to which they have raised their living standard. 93.5% population needs to form union.”
Com. Mohan Nimje, General Secretary, AITUC narrating the Gandhian Philosophy he stated informal workers need to continue their struggle for financial independence in non-violent way. He emphasized on formation of strong union, which would be helpful for getting their rights. Further he said informal workers should get job guarantee, health allowance, safety & security at work place and unemployment allowance.
Shri Narendra Surana, Ex. City Engineer MIC Narrating his experiences he stated urban poor have always faced discrimination in society. Further he said Informal workers are city makers and we can’t overlook their contribution on city’s development. Most of the informal workers are migrants. Their migration from one city to another city terribly affects their children’s education. Stressing on children’s education he mentioned government should provide education facility to their children.
Shri Praveen Gokhle, Director, PAHAL saidthere is sheerneed to change our perspective towards slum dwellers and strongly emphasized on their education. Like all other panelist he stressed on formation of union, which wouldn’t not only unite them but also strength to fight for their rights. He stressed on necessity of city level slum policy.
Sister Rosly Panjikaran, SSpS, Director IDWS shared difficulties of domestic workers and requested upcoming to government to form fixed wages for domestic women workers. There has been a mixed response from different political parties on neglected issues of urban governance. AAP party’s ambitious promises are surely ray of hope for urban poor. Let see what election brings to poor people.