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Terra urban monthly digest -May 2014

 

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National Consultation on Urban Poverty held at Delhi

The much awaited National Consultation on Urban Poverty, learning from the work of PRIA and SPARC during the last two years for ‘Strengthening Civil Society Voice on Urban Poverty’ and inputs of various experts, policy makers, community members successfully concluded in Delhi on Friday.

The consultation was greeted with enriching participation of various stakeholders and also saw coverage in major newspapers and online media.

Find below some of the excerpts from the media coverage:

From ‘The Hindu’: A project carried out by the Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC) and PRIA (Society for Participatory Research In Asia) in 34 cities in 11 States brought to fore issues that affect the urban poor, for instance there is no identity of the urban poor, despite the fact that 40 per cent of them live outside of slums.

PRIA president Rajesh Tandon said one-third of the country’s population is estimated to be living in urban areas and of this at least 50 per cent can be categorised as poor. “As per secondary data, cities’ economic contribution towards the GDP is two-thirds, of which the urban poor contribute nearly 25 per cent, yet resources for their problem alleviation is not even two per cent of the GDP,” said Dr. Tandon.

Speaking on the sidelines of the consultation, ‘Urban Poverty: Issues, Challenges and Opportunities’, he said the basic needs of the urban poor categorised as domestic helps, rickshaw pullers, daily wagers, hawkers, etc., cannot be ignored as a large percentage of this population make a major contribution to the economy.

“Ironically, these people are considered a burden on the city rather than equal citizens. Better urban governance is therefore a necessary condition for empowering the urban poor and improving their opportunities and security. Unless the implementation of these programmes is improved, it would be very difficult to bring the urban poor out of poverty. Policies addressing income and affordability, sanitation, health, etc. should be well structured and monitored,” he said.

The recommendations of the consultation, Dr. Tandon said, will be sent to the Planning Commission and the State Governments for forming coalitions at the city, State and Central level for meaningful engagement with the policy-makers.

Read more at: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/tp-newdelhi/unheard-voices-of-urban-poor/article4839439.ece

From ‘The Business Standard’: The meeting on “Urban Poverty: Issues, Challenges and Opportunities” saw a gathering of people studying the issue come together in the national capital Friday.

Participants drew attention to the fact that a large percentage of the city population belonged to low income groups, and their needs could not be ignored.

Rajesh Tandon, president, Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA), said people belonging to low income groups including rickshaw pullers, vendors, hawkers and daily wage labourers were “considered a burden on the city rather than equal citizens.”

“Better urban governance is necessary for empowering the urban poor and improving their opportunities and security. Policies addressing income and affordability, sanitation and health should be well structured and monitored,” he said.

Tandon said 40 percent of urban poor stay outside slums and the rate of inward migration was higher in smaller cities than in metropolitan ones.

Sheela Patel of the Society for the Promotion of Area Resource Centres ( SPARC) said efforts were being made to evolve a coalition of federations of urban poor.She said there cannot be a uniform solution to problems of the urban poor, and it had to be city-specific.

Aromar Revi of the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) said the rate of migration to cities could increase if there was collapse of agriculture.He pointed to other situations that could offer insights, saying that India’s rate of urbanisation was slower that in some Latin American countries.

Read more at: http://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ians/recognise-economic-contribution-of-urban-poor-urge-experts-113062100738_1.html

Stay tuned to Terra Urban for more updates and learnings from the Consultation!