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Plight of India's urban poor

Feb 09, 2009

UNDP’s India: Urban Poverty Report 2009 says that sloppy city planning and urban land management have left the slum dwellers deprived of basic amenities and livelihood opportunities. Exploring the dynamics of growing urbanisation and poverty, the report aims to sensitise policymakers on protecting the interests of unprivileged population.

India: Urban Poverty Report 2009

Publisher: UNDP, 2009

The report brings together 16 prominent authors, scholars and foremost civil society representatives for throwing light on the nature and dynamics of urban poverty in India.

India Urban Poverty 2009

It endeavours to fill a lacuna in the poverty literature to understand urban poverty as a phenomenon beyond the overflow of rural poverty and is, therefore, the first report of its kind that lays the foundation for a robust strategy.

Apart from the realisation that urbanisation will be at a rate of 50% in India by 2030, the authors of the report have focused on the need to deliver basic services to the urban poor as a pivotal poverty reduction challenge to be addressed through programmatic focus and proper allocation of funds.

The report finds that urban workers were being increasingly pushed into informal sector, even as the space for informal economic activities was gradually shrinking.

So the urban poor was increasingly a street vendor, a rickshaw puller, a rag picker, a cleaner, a washerman, a load carrier or a domestic servant.

The Report says while these workers contributed to the growth of cities, there was growing trend to push the poor to the urban periphery, as they were increasingly seen as threat to civic existence.

This challenge should not only address the present situation but should also foresee the future influx of urbanisation. The urban poverty alleviation strategy should also be aimed at the poorest and most vulnerable.

The central concerns of this report include:

  • trends and patterns of migration
  • dynamics of urban land and capital market
  • marginalisation of the poor to the urban periphery
  • changes in urban governance
  • gender dimensions of urban poverty
  • unorganised workforce and the informal sector
  • provision of and access to basic services and amenities indicating quality of life
  • appalling conditions in slums

Combining data with case studies, it will be useful for policymakers, civil society organisations, urban planners, and researchers in the fields of urbanization and development studies.

Source : UNDP
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