Urban Poverty in India and Post-MDG Framework | Millennium Development Goals

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In spite of rapid economic growth over the last decade, India
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  i   Oxfam India working papers series April 2013OIWPS - XVII Darshini Mahadevia URBAN POVERTY IN INDIA AND POST-MDG FRAMEWORK  Post-2015, when the deadline of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) end, the world has to give itself a new development agenda to address continuing conditions of poverty and inequality. Some countries have missed their targets and some have met theirs. The goals and targets set were limited. There was no rural-urban differentiation in either identifying goals and targets or benchmarks for the targets. For example, reduction in slum living was made to be important only in case of urban areas and not for the rural areas. Hence, while the world moves on to the post-MDG framework, there is a need to set up a new agenda post-2015, which should aim at more process oriented and transformative outcomes. There is also need to take on board existing inequalities, particularly among the different communities in a country and also between rural and urban areas. Even urban areas have become highly unequal and the dimensions and dynamics of urban inequalities should reflect on the post-MDG urban agenda. This paper presents the facts on urban inequalities in the context of the targets 10 and 11 of the Goal 7 of the MDGs and reflects on the processes through which the agenda of these targets can be met in the future. The context is India, which is a socially diverse country, wherein, some social groups, namely, the Dalits, the Tribals, the Muslims and women, have lagged behind in all the MDG indicators (Dubochet 2013). These groups have also lagged behind in the targets 10 and 11 of the Goal 7 in the urban context and are experiencing higher incidence of poverty than the general urban population. The paper suggests that shelter security should be the basis for transformative and equitable post-MDG agenda in urban India. The paper also gives the rationale for this suggestion and shows that urban policies and programmes have not adequately addressed the question of shelter security in the country. Lastly, the paper suggests that the post-MDG framework should be built on the ‘Right to the City’ agenda for India.The author: Darshini MahadeviaDarshini Mahadevia is Professor and Dean at the Faculty of Planning and Public Policy. Since 2009, she coordinates the Centre for Urban Equity, which also functions as a National Resource Centre for the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Government of India. She holds a PhD from Centre for Studies in Regional Development, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.Professor Mahadevia has authored numerous books and articles on urban development policies, including housing policy, urban poverty and human and gender development. She has collaborated with many universities and has been a visiting fellow in several universities including the University of California, McGill University in Montreal; Tsinghua University in Beijing; and the Tianjin University of Business and Economics. She is also Member of the Advisory Board of Global Research Network on Human Settlements (HS-Net), 2011-13, of the UN Habitat. Abstract Disclaimer: Oxfam India Working Paper Series disseminates the finding of the work in progress to encourage the exchange of ideas about development issues. An objective of the series is to get the findings out quickly, even if the presentations are less than fully polished. The papers carry the names of the authors and should be cited accordingly. The findings, interpretations, and conclusion expressed in this paper are entirely those of the authors. They do not necessarily represent the views of Oxfam India. Published by: Oxfam India  Contents 1. Context 22. Poverty in Urban India 43. Goal 7 Targets’ Achievements by Social Groups 64. Shelter Security and Social Development Links 145. The Urban Housing Programmes and Their Evaluation 206. Post-MDG Framework 24References 28  2 1. Context Post-2015, when the deadline of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) end, the world has to give itself a new development agenda to address continuing conditions of poverty and inequality. Some countries have missed their targets and some have met theirs. However, the goals and targets set were limited. There was no rural-urban differentiation in either identifying goals and targets, neither any benchmarks set. For example, reduction in slum living was given importance only in the case of urban areas and not rural areas. Hence, it would be prudent to take these limitations into account while the world moves on to the post-MDG framework—and the new agenda should aim at more process oriented and transformative outcomes. There is also need to take on board existing inequalities, particularly among the different communities in India, as also between rural and urban areas. It is also important to bear in mind that urban areas have become highly unequal and this should reflect on the post-MDG urban agenda. This paper presents facts on urban inequalities in the context of certain targets and reflects on the processes through which the agenda of these targets can be met in the future. It focuses on the targets that pertain to improving access to safe drinking water and sanitation, and improving the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020. In technical terms, these issues have been categorised under targets 10 and 11 of the Goal 7 of the MDGs. According to UN Habitat’s State of the World Cities, 2012 (UNHABITAT 2012: 127), 32.7 per cent of developing countries’ population lives in slums. This is equivalent to 863 million people. UNHABITAT projects 1.5 billion population to be living in the slums in the developing countries by 2020 1 . The 100 million people target therefore works out to be only about 7 per cent of the projected slum population.While urbanization is the future of this world, much of it is to happen in Central and South Asia and Africa, wherein informality and slum formation is the paradigm of urbanization. Among the Asian countries, South Asia still has low level of urbanization; about 32.4 per cent of the population live in urban areas (UNHABITAT 2012: 126), and 35 per cent of them live in slums (about 200 million) (UNHABITAT 2012: 127). Besides, the MDG Goal 7, Target 11, will also not cover all the slum dwellers of this region. In India, of the total urban population of 377 million in 2011 2 , 93 million people lived in slums (National Building Organisation 2010: 22), which was 24.7 per cent of the total urban population or 19.8 million households. But, with increase in level of urbanization, the challenge of slums will only increase. These staggering numbers indicate that there will be a significant agenda remaining post-2015, in many countries, including India.This paper focuses on India, with very large social diversity in population and social groups—dalits, muslims, tribals and women—left behind the national averages in social indicators (Dubochet 2013) inspite of forces of change and high economic growth in the decade of 2000-2010. They have lagged behind in all the MDG 1 Source: http://ww2.unhabitat.org/programmes/guo/documents/Table4.pdf, (accessed on November 26, 2012). 2 Population Census, 2011, from Population Census website.
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