Sunday, May 10, 2015

Govt of India report: Gujarat slums are more untenable than all other states

By Our Representative
In an alarming revelation, a high-powered Government of India committee headed by top scholar Prof Amitabh Kundu has calculated that #Gujarat's 162 slums, of which 130 are notified, have the lowest tenability index than anywhere else in the country. The committee, appointed by the previous UPA government in January 2014, submitted its report recently to the Union ministry housing and urban poverty alleviation to "calculate" which are slums and slum-dwelling households could be regularized.
The report says, a household in a slum is "tenable" if it is situated in a notified slum regardless of the location, it is in an area which is "non-hazardous/non-objectionable” even if it is not in situated in the notified area, and has 10 per cent households with "patta, possession certificate or occupancy rights." Kundu is one of the best known urban experts of India specializing on urban demographic issues.
The reort underlines, "This index indicates the extent to which the state has extended tenure rights on those who are prima facie eligible to make such a claim and have the potential to be recognized and extended such tenure rights."
The report shows that on a scale of 1, Gujarat's slum tenability index (STI) is just 0.21 as against the all-India STI of 0.72. Punjab's STI index is 0.93, followed by Maharashtra's 0.90, Jammu and Kashmir's 0.85, Kerala's 0.84, Andhra Pradesh's Telangana's and Rajasthan's 0.79, Uttar Pradesh's 0.78, and so on.
The report warns, the states with a higher proportion of untenable slum households may lead to a situation where "in the future, states will not grant patta, possession certificate or occupancy rights in such slums" at all, suggesting that eviction in these slums may well become a major reality.
In absolute terms, as against Gujarat's 23,614 slum households in 130 "tenable" slums, just about 4,697 households, or about 19 per cent, have patta or possession certificate or occupation certificate, as against the national average of 54 per cent. The lowest in India, it indicates "failure" of the state government to regularize slum dwellers, hampering their right to legally own a dwelling on being displaced.
The report is significant, as it comes close on heels of the committee's view, reported in sections of media, which said Gujarat's and #Ahmedabad's slum development index, based on the situation of slums in 2011 as against what it was a decade earlier, in 2001, is one of the worst in India.
By "non-tenable slums" -- whose proportion was found to be the highest compared to all Indian states -- the committee means those that "are those that are located in along major transport alignment, along other drains, along raiway lne, along river/ water body tank, along storm water drain/nallah, on river/ water body bed", and "hazardous or objectionable” areas.
The report says, "The index decided by the committee is the number of slum households who have recognized tenure rights, e.g., patta, possession certificate, occupancy right, etc. as a ratio of non-rental slum households that are living in tenable slums, as defined above."
There is, however, a disclaimer -- that the STI, calculated using the validated data from 7,550 slums, should be "considered as a sample drawn from the universe of slums in that state" and not final verdict. "The committee is unable to ascertain the extent to which the sample is representative for that state. The STI should be seen more as a methodological contribution than as an accurate measure of the level of tenability in that state, pending full validation of the data", the report says.

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