Slum population in India to be over 93 million in 2011

New Delhi, Sep 4 (Calcutta Tube) India’s slum population is projected to rise to 93.06 million by 2011, or 7.75 percent of the total population, say a report of an expert committee set up by the housing and urban poverty alleviation ministry.

The report of the committee on slum statistics, headed by Pranob Sen, the principal adviser to the Planning Commission, was released by Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister Kumari Selja here Friday.

Selja said the target of achieving a slum-free India in five years, as outlined by President Pratibha Patil in her speech to parliament in 2009, was ‘not unachievable’ unless states cooperate fully.

She said the committee’s first priority was to suggest suitable adjustments and create a reliable statistical model based on the data of 1,743 towns and cities enumerated in the 2001 census. The committee applied this model to estimate slum population in all 5,161 towns and cities in the country.

‘By this model, the estimated slum population of the country in 2001 comes to be 75.26 million and the projected slum population for 2011 is 93.06 million,’ she said.

The 2001 census had put the slum population at 52.4 million.

The committee has also suggested that an urban information management system on slums should be created and each state that gets funds from the ministry should indicate time-bound plans for addressing issues concerning slum clusters.

The committee was also tasked with suggesting an uniform definition of slum which can be adopted by the government for its Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) that seeks removal of slums and has recommended that contiguous area with 20-25 households having slum-like characteristics be taken as slum area.

It has recommended checklists for the purpose of identification of slums and said that households having roof material other than concrete, not having facility of drinking water, drainage and latrine should be treated as having slum characteristics.

Selja said there was problem of under-reporting by states as areas not notified as slums were not counted by them.

Noting her ministry was a bit hamstrung in the absence of complete data concerning the slums, she said that urban population was growing and there were many challenges in the task of making cities free of slums but funds would not be a constraint.

‘The UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government has committed itself to Rajiv Awas Yojana. Based on the preparatory work done by states, money should not be a constraint,’ she said.

The committee has recommended that Registrar General of India, which is conducting the 2011 survey, should share lay out maps with the MHUPA as an aid for slum surveys.

The 2001 census had put the urban population at 286 million. Ministry officials said that 40 percent of the country’s population will be living in the urban areas in the next two decades.

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