• The concept of slums and its definition vary from country to country depending upon the socio-economic conditions of each society.• Irrespective of location, whether in the core of the city, in the form of old dilapidated structures or in the out-skirts, in the form of squatting.• Physically, an area of the city with inadequate housing, deficient facilities, overcrowding and congestion.• Socially, a slum is a way of life, a special character which has its own set of norms and values reflected in poor sanitation, health values, health practices, deviant behaviour and social isolation.
• Slums is defined as that area where the buildings are in any respect unfit for human habitation; or by reason or dilapidation, overcrowding, faulty arrangement of buildings, streets, lack of ventilation, light or sanitation facilities or combination of these factors, are detrimental to safety, health or morals (Slums Improvement and Clearance Act, 1956).• Approximately, 68.8% of the countrys slums of this population reside in the remaining 3300 urban centers.• Urbanization has been considered as an index of development but in case of developing countries like India, urbanization is not the outcome of merely the growth potential generated by urban settlements.
Slums often demonstrate a concentration of multipledeprivations experienced by the urban poor;1. Uncertain employment & inadequate income2. Inadequate access to drinking water3. Inadequate food4. Inadequate clothing5. Inadequate safe & secure shelter/ housing6. Inadequate provision for land7. Inadequate provision for infrastructure facilities & utilities – Education instts. – Health centres – Sanitation - toilets and water taps. – Drainage & Sewage – Transportation8. Excluded from achieving their political, social and economic rights.
Nature of Poverty and Exclusion in Urban Areas
Satterthwaite (2002: 3) lists eight aspects of urban poverty;1. Inadequate income (and thus inadequate consumption of necessities including food and, often, safe and sufficient water; often problems of indebtedness, with debt repayments significantly reducing income available for necessities).2. Inadequate, unstable or risky asset base (non-material and material including educational attainment and housing) for individuals, households or communities.3. Inadequate shelter (typically poor quality, overcrowded and insecure).4. Inadequate provision of ‘public’ infrastructure (piped water, sanitation, drainage, roads, footpaths, etc.) which increases the health burden and often the work burden.5. Inadequate provision of basic services such as day care/schools/vocational training, healthcare, emergency services, public transport, communications, law enforcement.6. Limited or no safety net to ensure basic consumption can be maintained when income falls; also to ensure access to shelter and healthcare when these can no longer be paid for.
Satterthwaite (2002: 3) lists eight aspects of urban poverty,5. Inadequate protection of poorer groups’ rights through the operation of the law: including laws and regulations regarding civil and political rights, occupational health and safety, pollution control environmental health, protection from violence and other crimes, protection from discrimination and exploitation.6. Poorer groups’ voicelessness and powerlessness within political systems and bureaucratic structures, leading to little or no possibility of receiving entitlements; of organising, making demands and getting a fair response; and of receiving support for developing their own initiatives. Also, no means of ensuring accountability from aid agencies, NGOs, public agencies and private utilities and being able to participate in the definition and implementation of their urban poverty programmes.
The impact of inadequate access to waterand sanitation include:• health impacts of diseases (faecal-oral, water-washed, water- based and water-related insect vector).• reinforcing inequality and poverty (time and monetary costs of access, loss of productive/educational time).• reinforcing vulnerability and exclusion (e.g. among women, children, the elderly, those already suffering from ill-health or disability).
“ I will give you a Talisman. Whenever you are in doubt or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test:Recall the face of the poorest and weakest man whom you may have seen and ask yourself if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him. Will he gain anything by it? Will it restore him to a control over his own life and destiny? In other word, will it lead to Swaraj for hungry and spiritually starving millions? Then you will find your doubts and yourself melting away.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi 21
• The poor are least able to access or secure land, both for financial reasons and because formal systems do not recognise their often informal contributions to city life.• The urban poor are frequently forced to live on marginal/ hazardous land and/or in locations which are distant from places of work, services and often poorly served by public transport.• The threat of eviction limits people’s willingness to further invest in housing and infrastructure, and can lead to psychological pressures from fear and uncertainty.
• Because many of the urban poor are forced to live on marginal land, in unsafe environments and in poor quality housing, they are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters.• They are also least able to withstand external shocks compared with the rest of the urban population, due to an inadequate asset base and/or social and financial safety nets.• This vulnerability applies as much to withstanding and recovering from environmental/physical shocks as it does to dealing with sudden social and economic changes (including forced eviction).