Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

The lost citizens


Published on

A presentation outlining the plight of the most deprived of our citizens.

Published in: News & Politics
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

The lost citizens

  1. 1. Who are the urban homeless? Described variously as homeless, houseless, roofless, shelter less people, and pavement dwellers Census of India: ‘houseless population’ as the persons who are not living in ‘census houses’, or a ‘structure with roof’ Possible places where the houseless population may sleep include: pavements in hume pipes under bridges under staircases courtyards of shrines parks homeless shelters
  2. 2. Count the Children and the Dogs
  3. 3. Mostly not recent migrantsHomelessness an enduring conditionLarge majority working men supporting impoverished families in villagesWomen escaping patriarchy and violenceChildren escaping intense abuse and hunger Abandoned women and the agedWomen who escape violenceComplete breakdown of family, community and state social protection systems
  4. 4.  State denial and indifference Devalued citizenship rights Census in 2001 enumerated only 0.77 million urban houseless persons Gross underestimates because highly invisible group to officials: Lack formal address, identity proof, ration cards and voters’ identity cards Try to avoid visibility by state officials Micro-surveys estimate at least 1 percent of the population of cities This places estimate of urban homeless persons in India to be at least around 3 million
  5. 5. Battling the seasons, especially cold and monsoon rainsInvisible homeless deathsRenting even blankets to sleep in the openPerennial fear of physical violence and sexual abusePolice harassment and violence
  6. 6. Low end, casual, unorganised, unprotected workMain occupations:rag-picking,casual daily workstreet vendingconstruction workcasual sex workbegging (small numbers)blood donation
  7. 7. Little and troubled access to even the most elementary public servicesEverything that they can use has to be paid for:every visit to the toiletevery bathwater, both for drinking and for general useblanket ‘I am afraid that even the mirror may not reflect your image if you happened to stand before it without any money!’ - Subbiah, an aged homeless man in Madurai
  8. 8. Food quantities may – but are not always – sufficientQuality monotonous, very elementary, often of poor nutritional value, and unhygienicSources: street vendors, foraging, alms from religious placesRarely get home cooked foodYet they spend the greatest part of their earnings in the daily struggle to feed themselves and their dependents.
  9. 9. Loneliness and social isolation dominant motifs of street life Around half homeless respondents in our study said they never celebrated festivals 71 per cent said they had no friends whom they could trust and 62 per cent felt that they belonged to no community, even of the homeless. 62 out of 85 homeless respondents felt they had never been helped by anyone during their lives on the streets Many find solace in their loneliness in drugs or intoxicationTherefore even working homeless populations suffer deep psycho-social problems as they spend years on streets
  10. 10. HOW MANY OF YOU ARE FROM DELHI??Extreme mutual acrimony and distrustHomeless widely seen as people with no rights, their livelihoods and shelter illegal, even criminalBeggary and vagrancy laws criminalise destitutionIntense unrelenting police harassment brutality constantly evicts homeless peopleDe facto debarment from public hospitals, schools, feeding centres, pensions and ration cards, and social security entitlementsVery few night sheltersShelters with sub human facilitiesNegligible government programs for food, housing and social security of the homeless
  11. 11. Homeless people dying on Delhi’s streets in winter 2009Letter to Supreme Court JudgesPrompt intervention creates right of homeless persons to 24 hour dignified sheltersDelhi doubled shelters in 2 daysNational effort under wayMajor bottleneck: no National Program for Urban Homeless
  12. 12. Delhi happens to be the only state in the “average” category in the SC commissioners report. All other states in poor150 odd Shelters with a capacity of 50 each on average – do the math??Delhi has more than 2 Lakh homeless with 50K children…Current capacities cover less than 5% of the need and the gap keeps growing…And Delhi is the best………..
  13. 13. Scheme very marginal in profile and importance.Scheme not promoted as an “entitlement”State and local governments required to take loans for what is essentially a welfare effortDemand driven program, depending on demand from local city and state governments, which rarely came because of invisibility, powerlessness and stigma that surrounds urban homeless personsLittle knowledge or participation of civil society or homeless persons themselvesExtremely marginal allocations, sometimes as low as 1 crore rupees for the entire country! Overall 8 crores were used for 114 projects throughout the country with 17,000 beds in the period of the scheme.