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Condition of slums deteriorate in Gujarat, Ahmedabad; become more vulnerable

By Rajiv Shah
In a major admission, a recent report submitted to the Government of India has admitted the Gujarat's slums have become heavily "vulnerable" in 2011 than what they were a decade ago, in 2001, when Narendra Modi took over reins of power as state chief minister.
Titled "Report of the Committee on Slum Index", the report has found that Gujarat slums were one of the least vulnerable in 2001, with just one state's slums (Kerala) being more vulnerable, in 2011 slums as many as 11 major states out of a total 19 were more vulnerable than those of Gujarat.
The report, a copy of which with Counterview, works out slum vulnerability on the basis of its analysis of percent slum households against total urban households; percent non-notified slums against total slums; percent of utcha, semi-pucca, or dilapidated houses; percent married couples without exclusive dwelling room; average number of persons living in a room in slums; percent of households not having television, bicycle, scooter or motorbike, mobile, other assets; percent illiterates, particularly female illiterates; and lack of banking services.
The states which ranked better than Gujarat in terms of vulnerability in 2011 were Jammu & Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Punjab, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Westn Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, in that order. Carried out by a dozen-odd experts led by top academic Prof Amitabh Kundu, the vulnerability index is based on the data made available from two separate sources -- Census of India and National Sample Survey figures.
Worse, the data suggest that Gujarat has fared worse than all other states except for Assam and Kerala in becoming more vulnerable. The states which not just became less vulnerable but in fact improved their conditions were Uttarkhand, Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh. The data analysed include magnitude of slum population, access to basic civic amenities, housing sonditions, and access to assets.
The report finds a similar trend with major Indian cities. It says, "The analysis shows that the cities of Indore, Jaipur and Agra and Greater Mumbai have the highest slum vulnerability in 2001 while the cities of Ahmedabad, Patna and Hyderabad exhibit the least vulnerability."
However, the report says, things worsened for Ahmedabad in 2011 so much so that, the report says, the slum improvement composite index (Change over 2001 to 2011) suggests that Jaipur shows the highest improvement with an improvement, while Ahmedabad, following Patna, exhibits a negative improvement.
The committee, which prepared the report, was constituted by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation for preparation of a Slum Index in January 2014. It took nearly one-and-a-half years to come up with its final report. The committee was mandated to "undertake a background study of slum index formulated by UN HABITAT and its variations across the globe and arrives at an appropriate definition of Slum Index for India."
It was also required to articulate "the slum status index and the slum upgradation index that inter alia can be used to monitor the outcomes of various slum development and improvement programmes, undertaken by the Central and state governments", the report said.

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