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

JP advised RSS to give up Hindu Rashtra, disband itself: Ex-IAS officer tells Modi

Counterview Desk
Major MG Devasahayam IAS (Retd), chairman, People-First, in an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of Jayprakash Narain’s (JP’s) death anniversary (October 11) has wondered whether he remembers “a patriot called Jayaprakash Narayan”. Recalling what JP thought on issues such as communalism, freedom, democracy, Hindutva etc., Devasahayam says, Modi has been been doing “the very opposite of the principles and values for which JP lived and died.”

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

UP chief secretary, DGP have 'surrendered' to political diktat: 92 retired IAS, IPS officials

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, 92 retired IAS, IFS and IPS bureaucrats, commenting on “blatant violations of the rule law” following the Hathras incident, have blamed that the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police for abjectly failing to exercise control over a “highly compromised” administration the state.

Hathras reflects Manu's mindset dominates: 'Women are false, it's in their nature to seduce'

By Parijat Ghosh, Dibyendu Chaudhuri*
The woman died and then we woke up to protest. She was alive for two weeks after the heinous incident. Many of us even didn’t notice what had happened at Hathras, how she fought during the next 15 days. Those who noticed, many of them were not sure what actually had happened. So much so, we as a nation were more busy in finding out who among the Bollywood actresses were taking drugs, who smoked weed, who had ‘inappropriate’ or more than one relationship, what kind of private conversations they had in their chat boxes and what not!

Gujarat literati flutter: State Akademi autonomy curb a Sahitya Parishad poll issue?

By Dankesh Oza*
The 115-year-old Gujarati Sahitya Parishad is in election mode. More than 3,000 life members of the Parishad are set to elect its 52nd president and 40 plus central working committee (CWC) members, which in turn will elect its executive and two vice presidents, six secretaries and a treasurer for the coming three years (from 2021 to 2023).

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur*
Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Atrocities against Dalits: Why don't MPs, MLAs from the community ever speak up?

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*
In Gujarat, a young Dalit activist lawyer Devji Maheshwari, belonging to the Backward and Minority Communities Employees Federation (BAMSCEF) was killed in Surat, allegedly by a goon who was warning him against his Facebook posts not to speak up against Brahmanism. Facts have come to light suggesting there are other issues also which led to the murder, mostly related to land disputes, many a time ignored by activists.

Delhi riots: Even British didn't accuse Bhagat Singh of reading Lenin, Jack London

By Vikash Narain Rai*
After the #BlackLifeMatters movement seriously tested the credibility of police across America, the Houston police chief Art Acevado talked of ending “lawful but awful” policing. No comparison, but in India, a citizens’ committee comprising former top judges and bureaucrats is now set to inquire into the role of the state machinery and media in handling the February 2020 Delhi violence, which followed protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), “as the investigation by the Delhi Police has evoked extensive critical commentary in recent times.”