SLUMS AND ASSOCIATED PROBLEMS

24 Aug 2021

Curtain Hug

The slum is an informal, illegal, and irregular urban settlement on public land which is
usually grown over a period of time. In most of the developing countries, a migrant first
finds his residence within the city is in the slum which is considered as an integral part
of urbanization and manifested upon overall urbanized socioeconomic policies and
planning. Usually known as a run-down area of the city, the slum is characterized by
chaotically occupied, overpopulated, unsystematically developed substandard housings
without proper ventilation, light, and sanitation facilities, along with poverty, inadequate
basic services, and lacking tenure security. Deprivation of proper solid waste
management, internal and approach roads, street lighting, education, health care, and
poor quality of shelter make slum dwellers' life miserable. Slums are usually prone to
fire, waterlogging, and floods which lead to the recurrence of water-borne diseases like
cholera, typhoid, gastroenteritis, and jaundice as well as more fatal ones like cancer and
HIV/AIDS. High rates of illness, child marriage, malnourishment, high infant mortality in
slum dwellers cause a decline in productivity and performance resulting in prevention of
school attendance as well as increasing drop-out rate from school which makes women
and children victims of social evils like prostitution, beggary, child trafficking. Apart from
deprivation of minimum civic services, many of these slums are located in fragile and
dangerous zones prone to landslides, floods, and other disasters that make the poor
residents highly vulnerable. They also don't get the required municipal services due to
their "location dispute" marked as "illegal".
Around the world, one in eight people lives in slums, averaging one billion people living
in a slum. Of which 17% of the world's slum dwellers reside in India which accounts for
about 78 million people. Dharavi, which is Asia's largest slum, lies in the middle of
Mumbai which has spread over an area of 230 hectares with a half million population.
There are two types of slums: notified and non-notified slums. Notified slum dwellers
can afford to invest in education and in different skill training whereas non-notified Slum
dwellers are mostly impertinent to basic services and proper livelihood opportunities.
Several factors are responsible for the growth of slums. Poverty and lack of social
forwardness are the core causes of slum expansion. Rising material costs, labor costs,
and the gap between the growing demand for affordable urban housing and insufficient
supply have encouraged the formation of slums.
To combat these situations, several policies and projects have been taken regarding the
development of slum areas. Initiated in 1996, loans and subsidies were provided for
slum rehabilitation projects through National Slum Development Programme (NSPD).
For Shelter and community sanitation facilities, Valmiki Ambedkar Malina Basti Awas
Yojana (VAMBAY) was introduced in 2001. Later NSDP and VAMBAY were merged
and formed IHSDP (Integrated Housing ad Slum Development Programme) to provide
adequate shelter and basic infrastructure facilities to the urban slum residents. These
activities were further facilitated through the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal
Mission (JNNURM). Later, Interest Subsidy Scheme for Housing the Urban Poor

(ISHUP) was introduced to provide interest subsidies to lower income group people
enabling them to buy or construct houses. Later, in 2013, Rajiv Awas Yojna was
launched which was focused on bringing existing slums within the formal system and
enabling them to avail the same level of basic amenities as the rest of the town have,
restoring the failures of the formal system and tackling with the shortages of urban land
and housing that was out of reach to the urban poor. In 2015, Pradhan Mantri Awas
Yojana was launched that should provide "housing for all urban"by rendering central
assistance to implementing agencies through States and UTs to all beneficiaries by
2022. In this Yojana, slum rehabilitation with the participation of private developers
using land as a resource, promotion of affordable housings for Poor through credit
linked subsidy as well as subsidy for beneficiary led individual house construction or
enhancement was incorporated. Moreover, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban
Transformation (AMRUT) and Swachh Bharat Mission were introduced to establish
infrastructure for adequate robust sewage networks, improving cleanliness, sanitation,
and water supply for urban transformation by implementing urban revival projects.
But challenges remain. In absence of systematic land records, non-transparent deals,
and ownership conflicts, assessing land ownership becomes difficult which delays and
hinders the implementation of the slum rehabilitation scheme. It seems impossible to
reach PMAY's aim because the rate of informal housing destruction exceeds far the rate
of formal housing constructed. Another main problem is after providing the free housing
with full ownership rights along with all the civic facilities, this housing was illegally
subleased to somebody else, keeping the owner himself stay back in the same slum as
a "comfort zone" became unfavorable to the goal of creating slum-free cities in India.
So, along with building houses, social and economic infrastructure has to be developed
for promoting livelihood options with proper attention given to the income generation,
transport, and empowerment of the beneficiaries. Moreover, giving rights to the property
owner for risk-free up-gradation of homes with renting facilities for future formal
commercial establishments is required to compensate for possible future problems.