Skip to main content

IIM-A's Ahmedabad slum study tells US policy makes: Slum networking failed, no need to offer support

Counterview Desk
A top Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) study by three experts -- Sharon Barnhardt, Erica Field and Rohini Pande with the IIM-A, Duke University, and Harvard University, respectively – has said that a slum networking project to relocate slum dwellers, begun in 1987 and implemented six years later in Ahmedabad, was a total flop. The study, based on spot surveys, particularly notices “lack of socioeconomic improvement among” among those who agreed to be relocated. Even after the relocation, it adds, the relocated persons experienced a “high exit rate”. It concludes, “The long-run economic value of this fairly expensive public programme was close to zero.”
What makes the study significant is that it was funded and sponsored by institutes associated with the US Department of Labor, the Harvard University and the Exxon Mobil Foundation. The relocation began following a housing lottery floated among Ahmedabad’s slum-dwellers, 76 per cent of whom lived in the “relatively dense East and Central administrative zones” of the city, and the rest in the middle of the city. In all, 110 out of 497 participants had the opportunity to move out of their slum area and into “improved” housing on the city's periphery, about 7.5 miles away.
The study regrets that even in terms of home-ownership, none of the relocated managed, even at the end of the lease period (2013), to purchase their home, hence “the programme failed to increase rates of home ownership”. It tells American policy makers: “The main policy lesson is that it is very hard to make public housing relocation programmes sufficiently attractive for the poor in developing countries to take them up”, even as identifying “destruction of social capital that comes from reshuffling slum communities” as the main welfare loss, which “cannot be so easily rebuilt.”
“Fourteen years after housing assignment, relative to lottery losers, winners report better housing conditions farther from the city center, but no change in family income or human capital”, the study says, adding, “Winners also state increased isolation from family and caste networks and lower access to informal insurance. In particular, they are significantly less likely to know someone they can rely on for borrowing needs and report fewer informal transfers in the event of shocks.”
The study, which is titled "Moving to Opportunity or Isolation? Network E ects of a Slum
Relocation Program in India", underlines, “Our results suggest that the benefits of improved suburban housing were offset by its drawbacks in the form of destruction of social capital, pointing to the importance of considering social networks when designing housing programs for the poor.”
Calling it a “unique experimental opportunity” supported, notably, by one of the most reputed NGOs calling itself trade union, Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA), in partnership with the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, all those who were surveyed worked as piece-rate bidi making workers, hence belonged to the informal sector. However, the study is quick to add, though it was a non-government programme, its nature was similar to “housing projects for low-income urban populations organized by state and federal housing authorities of India.”
“Fourteen years after housing allocation, slum-dwellers who won the opportunity to relocate to objectively higher-quality housing in a safer and cleaner location were no better off on a variety of socio-economic measures than those who were not given the same opportunity to leave the slums. In particular, the economic well-being of lottery winners and losers was similar in terms of current income, labour force participation, household health, and child outcomes”, the study says.
The data collected by the experts suggest that only 46 per cent of those who were relocated continued living in the unit they won in the lottery just two-and-a-half years they decided to move. Even 14 years after the programme was implemented, the study says, the average respondent at the relocated site lived “2.3 miles from the city centre, measured as a straight line, and a 17-minute walk to the nearest school.” It adds, “A detailed family health index suggests similar health outcomes across the two groups. We also observe comparable levels of educational attainment for children completing 7.5 years of schooling on average.”

Comments

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Did Modi own, buy digital camera costing Rs 7 lakh in 1987-88, also used email?

Counterview Desk
In an interview to the news channel News Nation, aired on Saturday last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that he had approved the air strike despite bad weather because he felt the clouds would hide Indian planes from Pakistani radar is known to have become a laughing stock across India.

Now, top Gujarat "litterateur" close to Modi says: Godse was patriot, so was Gandhi

By Rajiv Shah
A little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized BJP candidate from Bhopal Pragya Thakur for calling Nathuram Godse a patriot saying he would never forgive her for the remark, a top Sangh Parivar ideologue, known to close to Modi in Gujarat, has supported her, saying her statement should be seen “within a context.” Thakur won from Bhopal by more than 3.5 lakh votes defeating her nearest rival, veteran Congressman and ex-Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh.

When a neo-nationalist "invaded" hijab clad ladies, Bengali looking scholar in Delhi metro

By Aditi Kundu*
Travelling in Delhi metro on a daily basis to commute from Mayur Vihar to Dwarka, I see diverse people everyday. One can hear them talk about different aspects of life, from kitchen pilitics to national politics. On the morning of May 13, I witnessed a strange incident; disturbing and amusing at the same time.

Terror attacks: Difference in public reactions in India, those in Colombo, Christchurch

By Battini Rao*
Recently, on April 20 during Easter Sunday, more than 250 people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Local Islamic organisations Thawheed Jamath (NJT) and Jamathei Milathu Ibrahim (JMI) are held responsible for the attack. Islamic State has also claimed responsibility.

Women lost 88 lakh jobs in 2018: Why Modi "failed" to address their disempowerment?

Counterview Desk
Five human rights leaders Anjali Bhardwaj, Shabnam Hashmi, Purnima Gupta, Dipta Bhog, and Amrita Johri of the Women March for Change have posed 56 questions (alluding to Modi’s claim of 56 inches chest) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP against the backdrop of his interview with a Bollywood star, which was allegedly masqueraded as a “non-political” conversation.

Disproportionately high death sentences against Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims: UN told

Counterview Desk
In their joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee to meet for the listing of adoption of list of issues at its 126th session, July 1-26, 2019, top Dalit rights organizations have taken strong exception to, among other things, "disproportional application of death sentencing by the judiciary of minorities, such as Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis".

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

India's 80% construction sites "unsafe", deaths 20 times higher than those in Britain

By Rajiv Shah
The Government of India may be seeking to project India’s construction sector as the country’s second-largest employer of the country after agriculture, providing jobs to more than 44 million people, and contributing nearly 9% to the national GDP, yet, ironically, its workforce is more unprotected than any other industrial sector of the country. Data suggest that the possibility of a fatality is five times more likely in the construction industry  than in a manufacturing industry, and the risk of a major injury is 2.5 times higher.

India sans Modi preferable, Congress worthier recipient of Indians’ votes: The Economist

By Our Representative
In a strongly-worded and crucial commentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the electoral political battle is on, influential British weekly “The Economist”, has declared that “Indians, who are in the midst of voting in a fresh election, would be better off with a different leader”, even as pointing out that that under Modi, “India’s ruling party poses a threat to democracy.”