Tag Archives: PRIA

Non Poor Unites For the Poor – Indore Initiative

by Dr. Suman Bhanoo

Youth power is the greatest wealth and strength of any nation. The quality of its young generation determines the future of nation. To ensure prosperous future of country there is a need to unite, strengthen and empower youngsters. In every major change in society, there is direct involvement of youth either we speak about recent Anna movement or the movement that gained mass momentum after the Nirbhaya incident. In this direction similar step has been taken in Indore city where around forty members of mixed groups comprising youth from informal settlements, MSW students and volunteers have been united to form non poor groups. Youths from informal settlements are mostly engaged in daily wage jobs, rag picking and junk dealing. These groups have been continuously struggling for the informal settlers’ rights.

Deeb Bandhu Samaj Sahyoj (DBSS) organization’s Prof Anand is facilitating the whole process and providing support to these youngsters. These groups are engaged in street plays, community mapping, community meetings and scientific temperament programmes. Describing the journey of this group Prof. Anand has stated, “For last seven years without any big financial support group is working for the rights of urban marginalized section. Motivation to dissolve class difference and bring equality in society was the driving force. Due to financial constrains group had faced many hurdles during all these years and after prolonged struggle they have established themselves. Now these groups are the most talked group of Indore city”. Integrated non-poor group have been divided into seven sub groups to get concrete results.

S.No. Non Poor Group Functions


RTI Group


RTI group files RTI’s on all the social issues though some of them are not relevant now but they can be supportive in near future. This group also supports the youth groups of community in filling RTIs. Till now group has filed  RTI’s on RAY, BRTS, RTO office on transportation act, on violence against women, atrocities cases, for Ashray Nidhi Shulk of 15% land reservation provision (In DUDA), for the job card details of MNREGA etc
Cultural Group Cultural group Chingari conducts street-plays, puppet shows, revolutionary & progressive songs. Chingari group had played a crucial role in assembly and parliament election and performed 30 shows on 3 different scripts. BeforeLok Sabha elections it had performed street play in 10 different communities of Indore.
Study Group Study group conducts studies on relevant social issues like; public transportation, water & sanitation, housing, solid waste management, health and education. It also publishes periodic newsletters on these issues.
RTE Group RTE group conducts awareness camp in informal settlements and labour adda’s for the enrolment of their children in schools
Community Organization Group This group is continuously working to bridge the gap between local community forums to establish the mutual dialogue and interaction with development agencies and civil society groups. Group regularly organises public communication activities between the informal settlers and urban youth and has builtconsiderable rapport and mutual confidence with slum forums.


Advocacy and Lobbying Group This group builds up linkages with NGOs, civil societies, policy makers and planners for the rights and interests of urban poor.


Media Advocacy Group Mediagroup has collaborated with Times of India on women toilet issues, adequate housing issues, street play in favor of NOTA during assembly election, charter of demand & street play during parliament election.

npFormation of non-poor group is a humble attempt to bridge the gap between the haves and the have-nots. These young groups are working diligently for the better society. All we need is to direct the energy of youngsters in constructive channels that leads to development and progress of nation.



Terra urban monthly digest -May 2014


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Health checkups in slums with effort of Slum Dwellers!

by Mahesh Dhandole, PRIA

Slum Improvement Committee (SIC) organized Free Eye Check UP camp in Joint Collaboration with MGM Eye Hospital, Raipur

Since last two year, PRIA along with partner organization Chetana Child & Women Welfare society is making an effort to collectivize and strengthening the urban poor and their groups (SICs) by providing information and various platforms so that they could raise their voice in front of various authorities and stakeholders. As a result, various interfaces with govt. & other institutions are happening by SICs for improving the condition of slums in Raipur.

MGM eye hospital is one of biggest eye care hospital in Chhattisgarh state, which was established with the mission of providing most advanced eye care to all segments of the society, especially the underprivileged. During the time, PRIA had shared their initiatives with the outreach team of MGM and organized interface meeting between SICs and team of MGM in PRIA office, on 12/05/2014. Mr. Soumya Ranjan, Programme Manager of MGM had shared information about their hospital and outreach activities.  Members of SICs and MGM were discussed the various aspects of organizing free eye check-up camp in slums and fixed the scheduled for camps in different slums. It was jointly discussed, the field level mobilization will be done by SICs and team of doctors and other materials will be available by MGM hospital.

On 20/05/2014, one day free eye check camp was organized at Govt. Primary School, in Kanshiram Nagar slum of Ward no. 44 in Raipur. A five member team of doctors, lab technicians and assistants were present in the camp. Around 120 citizens did their eye screening through various processes in the camp. Slum Improvement Committee of Kanshiram Nagar actively facilitated the camp in their slum. Ex. Ward Councillor Mr. Kuber Safa also visited the camp and appreciated the effort of SIC. During the camp, 15 citizens were identified who had the critical eye disease like cornea & Anterior Segment and 35 patients of reflective diseases were identified. Out them, 5 citizens were referred to the hospital for free operation surgery. In the evening, MGM hospitals arranged the vehicle and send these 5 patients to their hospital for free operation surgery of eye. However, all the other SICs will organize free eye check-up camp in their respective slum. A next camp will be organized on 25/05/2014, in Tarun Nagar Slum of Ward no.30.         



Stories from Slums of Railway Lands -Power of less spoken stories

By Swathi Subramaniam

India’s population density has risen from 325 per square km in 2001 to 382 per sq km in 2011. There has been an increase of 17.5% during the decade with land size remaining the same.

Out of 304 million hectares of land in India for which records are available, roughly 40 million hectares are considered unfit for vegetation as they are either in urban areas, occupied by roads and rivers, or under permanent snow, rock or desert[1].

During 2004-09 when Shri Lalu Prasad Yadav was Railway minister, Railway Land Development Authority was formed for acquiring lands for the purpose of railway expansions and for enhancing  revenues through commercial use of unutilized lands. While there is no reliable statistics available about Public land ownership, it is estimated that Indian Railway owns the maximum land.

RLDA also aims to prevent encroachment on railway lands and augment railways resources by exploitation and management of the valuable Railway Land in Metropolitan cities and major towns for commercialization and other revenue generating activities.

RLDA is the statutory body for generating nontariff revenue from vacant and surplus railway lands. For example, many Indian hotels through the process public private partnership will set up multi-functional complexes at 75 railway station in the first phase (Business Line, Hyderabad, Sept 12)[2]. 

The PPE Act of 1971, says that encroachments cannot be made in the public lands of India and is applicable in whole of India. There is the Rehabilitation and Resettlement policy of RLDA but there are no figures as to how many have been rehabilitated. The various areas in which RLDA provides land for leasing are:

  • Licensing of tanks and borrowed pits to cooperative society set up by railways or Fishermen’s cooperative society
  • Licensing of land for the purpose of carnivals, melas, circus shows
  • Container Cooperation of India
  • Leasing of land for the development of shopping complexes
  • Licensing of land to oil companies for setting up retail outlets
  • Providing of surplus land to Kendriya Vidyalays and building up of KVs in areas where there are no schools or lack of education institutes
  • Licensing of railway land to welfare organisations and private schools
  • religious institutions/ staff welfare of organizations/ handicraft centres, social welfare centres and Bharat Scouts and Guides.


 When we travel in train we find numerous slums mushroomed along the railway tracks. These slums are particularly found when we approach a major city or town.  It is understandable since cities and towns provide livelihood for slum dwellers who otherwise cannot afford the rentals in the cities. Below are some of the examples of slums along the railway tracks.   

Stories from Slums of Railway Lands


In Surat district, 14 slums were identified by an NGO near the Railway tracks. These 14 slums house a population of 15,000. While these slums have electricity they lack potable water and sanitation facilities. The people staying here are marginalized communities of Muslims and Dalit struggling every minute of their life. Their condition is very pathetic when compared to urban informal slum dwellers of city. For the process of R & R any slum undergoes a survey according to RAY and JNNURM. Railway slums are not considered for R & R even if they are located adjacent to RAY identified slums. There is always a tussle between Private land, railway land and Surat Mahanagar Palika.

  • Frequent visits by Government officials threatening to demolish these slums are very common.  They become easy prey for extracting money due to threat from any Government official.
  • Usually before demolition no notice is given to the slum dwellers. The notice is very informal in nature. Example: notices are issued only a day before the demolition. Notices are pasted either on walls or somewhere else. 
  • Slum dwellers are psychologically affected always living under the fear of demolition. When demolition happens then there is a lot of violence. The most traumatized are the children and women.
  • A common phenomenon noticed was that many Municipalities never listed the new slums on Railway lands as slums but only considered and gave all the attention to the old ones for planned development.
  • Safety is also one big issue. The ladies and children of railway slums have to cross the railway tracks frequently for various purposes such as fetching water,going to schools etc.
  • The railway slum dwellers of these places have their livelihood usually within 1kms of their homes in nearby power loom industry.
  • Surat is a place where liquor is illegal; as a result the children of the railway slum dwellers are used for selling illegal liquors.
  • All the railway slum dwellers possess documents like identity cards, aadhar cards, ration card etc.


According to an NGO survey, only 10% of railway slums get notification of demolition. A slum named Vinod Nagar in Dhanbad underwent a small survey by a local NGO whose findings say that- eunuchs and other socially marginalized communities live in the railway slums of Vinod Nagar. When an R & R of Vinod Nagar was undertaken the resettlements including schools were shifted to far away Forest lands. None of the people could relocate because it affected their livelihood.  Usually after the findings reveal that the R & R in Dhanbad shift the school to areas far away like in Forest lands. All these people have voting rights as well.


In Ranchi, a phenomenon is very common of Floating homes. Their homes are made up of plastic sheets. The railway slum dwellers due to the problem of demolition always fold their plastic bags and carry with themselves. During night they settle anywhere along the railway track and make their plastic homes.

Pul Mithai, Old Delhi

In Delhi we have public lands owned by various authorities like Railways, defence, airport, metro, forest lands etc. There are no water, electricity or sanitation facilities. The slum regularly suffers victimization.

Due to sanitation problems, all slum dwellers both men and women are forced to defecate on the railway tracks. The women hence are vulnerable to regular abuses and struggles. 

Man Sarovar Park, Delhi

This slum dwelling composes of Nomadic tribes of Uttar Pradesh. This slum dwelling is demolished every year. A very specific component noticed here is that when one authority demolished this slum dwelling then another authority takes responsibility of its R & R. For example – when Delhi Metro authorities demolish one slum then another authority like DUSIB rehabilitates those slums.


Sewanagar is a railway slum in Vizag district. The people of Sewanagar have their livelihood in Railway itself as housekeeping and as contractual laborers. This slum was about to be demolished and resulted in job losses due to eviction. An NGO got associated with the slum and helped it to rehabilitate. A Land transfer proposal was issued where the land ownership from Railway was transferred. These households were allotted homes under JNNURM in Vizag.

From the above stories the following conclusions and recommendations can be derived: 

  1. Railway has surplus lands in India. Only ‘very marginalized’ and totally secluded communities live in slums near railway tracks.
  2. Reluctance among Municipal Corporation with respect to notifying new Jhuggi Jhopri particularly when it is located outside the municipal area such as railway. There is a need to include all slums for planning purpose. The survey of slums happen only under the JNNURM and RAY.
  3. There is a need to identify appropriate officials for issues relating to such slums and promote accountability. There should be a common guidelines for handling R & R of all types of slums irrespective of their location.
  4. Many houses are evicted after Rehabilitation as there is lack of coordination among the various departments working in this area.
  5. Accountability mechanisms during Relocation and Rehabilitation are very ambiguous. Over a period multiple agencies have got involved in housing for city’s urban poor resulting in overlapping accountability. Coordination issues between various authorities need improvement.




PRIA’s President speaks to ‘Dainik Jagran’ on Urban Governance in the context of ‘new government’

In the light of new government at National level in India, in an interview with ‘Dainik Jagran’ a national newspaper in India, Dr. Rajesh Tandon, President of Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA) stressed on the urgent needs and issues in respect to urban development and governance. Some of the key issues raised by Dr. Tandon were:

  1. Need for a Comprehensive National Urban Policy: India with its 40% of population now in urban areas, still doesn’t have a national urban policy that looks into the aspects of urban development and governance. The urban sector has been much neglected, urban local bodies at urban level are not incapacitated, there is yet no means of addressing the need for jobs and livelihood for large influx of rural – urban and urban – urban migration, large villages that are pretty much ‘urban in character’ continue to be classified as villages, the socio- economic growth of urban areas at large is yet not addressed and neither has its true potential realised in respect to national growth. New government in coordination and consensus with State governments should formulate a ‘National Urban Policy’ that addresses these needs of the day.
  2. Need to strengthen the National Planning Process: In India planning process is implemented through five year plans since 1951. We are currently in our Twelfth Five year Plan. This planning tool of ‘Five year plans’ has laid much of its importance and outlook to rural development in the past for India. Now that the urban issues need to be recognised and focused upon, this tool of five year plans cannot be directly applied to ‘urban scenario’. The urban needs and characteristics with larger level of complexities require a strengthening of the National Planning Process. The planning process for urban areas need to recognise the critical need of infrastructure such as transport, water, electricity, housing etc in urban setup. At the same time at planning and policy level adequate attention needs to be given to the ‘informal economy’ that absorbs a large urban population in the most unstructured way. Our cities need to recognise and appreciate these informal workers whose faces we see in rickshaw pullers, vendors, rag pickers etc. A large number of ‘youth’ are migrating to urban areas and job creation becomes a critical and urgent need. Infact lot of crime and violence in the city can be reflected back to the lack of adequate employment opportunities in our cities.
  3. Adequate institutional strengthening at National level: At present the urban development is divided in the two ministries of ‘Ministry of Urban Development’ and ‘Ministry of Housing and Poverty Alleviation’. A single body that looks into and combines the visions of these two ministries is much needed for a holistic development of our urban centres. At the same time a dedicated nodal member at the Planning Commission that looks into matters of ‘urban development’ in specific is also required. Such institutional strengthening at the National level to address urban issues is the need of the hour.
  4. Capacity building at the state and local level: Even though decentralisation came in being at policy level in India long back, its translation on the ground is still missing. Urban local bodies do not have adequate capacity to plan, implement and finance urban development projects which are a clear mandate of these bodies. A lacking cadre in our urban local bodies also results in the staff being unwire of urban issues or with adequate training and capacity being designated responsibilities in these ULBs.
  5. Adequate attention to small and medium towns is required: Small and medium towns and cities have been most ignored in respect to national’s attention for planning, capacity building and financial support. Flagship programmes such as JNNURM focused only on large cities and ignored these small towns and cities. Towns such as Barely and Moradabad might offer great potential but are unfortunately ignored at both policy and planning level. Infact these small and medium towns are large catchment areas which not only see large influx of population from nearby villages but also offer an economical cost of entrepreneurship for these migrants when compared to their cost of living in large cities like Delhi. States like Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar etc. need urgent attention to these small towns that are quickly urbanising. This again reiterates the need for a comprehensive national urban policy.
  6. Integrated infrastructural development for urban areas: Technology and infrastructure needs are high in urban areas. Unfortunately these sectors do not work in unison as a result our urban areas lack basic level of services. Three sectors require urgent attention and their related departments need to work in an integrated fashion. The first sector is the energy sector. Here its various departmental sub-divisions such as nuclear, power, un-conventional sources etc. – all need to work ‘together’ to come towards a valid and sustainable solution for our urban areas. Similar is the case with ‘transport sector’ – here the railways, roadways, aviation, ports – all need to work in unison such that the urban user is catered to well. The third sector is housing where again the planning and development needs to be more integrated.
  7. Recognise the ‘potential’ of urban areas: Urban areas are not just significant for urban GDP but also for national growth. Once adequate attention is given to small towns and cities that are actually ‘source’ of various products to large cities such as agricultural produce – there can be a holistic development at national level.

Catch the youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRz5C3NKtrc&feature=youtu.be


Addressing Urban Poverty and Reformed Urban Governance

Addressing Urban Poverty and Reformed Urban Governance

National Campaign

Speaker Hall, Constitution Club of India

28 March 2014

The event Urban Poverty and Reformed Urban Governance was jointly organised by PRIA (Participatory Research in Asia) and FIUPW (Forum for Informal Urban Workers). The objective of the National Consultation is to bring together different stakeholders from the local to the national level, 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 poor. It is an effort to bring together organizations of the urban poor, local NGOs, research institutions, media and other coalitions in creating a buzz in Lok Sabha 2014 elections on the issues of urban poverty.

The participants included the following:

There were about 120 participants who included people from media, CSOs and representatives of informal slum dwellers. The CSOs which participated were PRASAR, Delhi Forces, JJEM, B.V.S, Janpahal, Jivan Sudha Samiti, Samanata, RUPOEM, Matri Sudha, Hawkers Joint Action Committee, Pahel, Delhi Hawkers, Madhyanan, AIKMM etc.

The discussion was moderated by Mr Manoj Rai, Director, PRIA


The panelists were:

Surendra Singh, Child Rights/Matri Sudha

He spoke on the issues of children of urban poor and the need to improve the condition of Anganwadis was raised. In Delhi, 70% urban poor women are employed and hence Anganwadis have an important role in their lives. While there are many benefits with respect to children of urban poor like ICDS, Right to Education etc, in spite of these schemes 42% of children in India are malnourished. For these services to reach urban poor to “Pehchan Patra” (identity cards) should be issued for them.

Jawahar Singh, Jhuggi Jhopdi Ekta Manch

Jawaharji spoke about the problems of housing schemes for urban poor such as RAY. He quoted that 70,00,000 people of urban poor donot have any home in Delhi. He highlighted the issue of Kathputli colony which was evicted by Ajay Makan and sold to private builder for 6 crore. The slums are promised 4 storeyed homes in faraway places which separate them from their livelihood. Slums are evicted randomly without efforts of renovation or proper planning. Eviction of slums was not a goal of RAY. He also felt that the Congress manifesto includes an exhaustive list of unrealistic targets. He stressed that the issues must include, Roti, Kapda, Makan, Swasthya and Shiksha.

Mr Dharmendra Kumar, Janpahal

Dharmendraji state the Informal Urban Poor Workers should be formalised in every way. Only when every informal is made formal will he have access to voter id, aadhar cards, bank account etc. In urban a different type of poverty prevails. Here every poor urban home has a TV, a fridge, a bicycle, electric fan but it does not mean they are not poor. Here poverty is in terms of identity cards, access to proper education, sanitation and health services. The definition of urban poverty is changing with time. He also suggested that monitoring of manifestos of political parties should happen in parallel.

Rajendra Pratap Gupta, Manifesto Committee, BJP

Rajendra Guptaji said that  BJP manifesto provides specific solution to these problems. Employment has to be created. The main reason for urban poverty to grow is because there is no livelihood. Aim is to increase manufacturing sector to increase employment opportunities. Tourism is a very important source for India which will be ventured. Every scheme proposed by BJP will go through Social, Economic and Environment audit. India requires 1,80,00,000 homes all over country. This is a very big challenge which cannot be addressed in short span of 5 years but it is a vision.


Ashok Thakur, Cooperatives, BJP

Ashok ji said that Construction people stay in Jhuggi Jhopri only. Only when the manpower from these JJ is trained and investment is made in their development then their situations will become better.

In the last session there was open discussion, where the community people participation actively.

The main aim of this consultation was to voice the issues of urban poor. The issues were directly raised by the community people residing in various slums of Delhi. Their issues gained voice through the event and the political parties paid attention to their issues in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.


Participation by informal urban poor at its best



TerraUrban Monthly Digest – March

Lok Sabha Elections are on its way and Citizens of India are to express one of the most significant of their right – The right to vote. Electoral democracy of Urban India should aim towards an inclusive urban society and much attention needs to be given in the ‘political agenda(s)’ towards the same. Catch various activities in the month of March on Terraurban – doing ‘it’s bit’ in raising the ‘Voice’ for Urban Issues. Click here to download pdf:   Terra urban-monthly digest mar 2014    Or see below

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