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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Maha tops census list with 21k slum blocks in India

1 Out Of 6 Urbanites Live In Slums Across Country, Shows Data

New Delhi: Nearly one in every six urban Indian residents lives in a slum, newly released census data shows. The new numbers are significantly lower than the slum growth that had been projected for India. 

    "Our own projections were that the all-India slum population would be 27.5% by 2011, so the new data comes as a pleasant surprise," Arun Kumar Misra, secretary in the ministry of housing and urban poverty alleviation, said. Slum populations in individual cities like Mumbai was also lower than expected, Mishra said. 
    The census defines a slum as "residential areas where dwellings are unfit for human habitation" because they are dilapidated, cramped, poorly ventilated, unclean, or "any combination of these factors which are detrimental to the safety and health", registrar general of India C Chandramouli said. 

    Roughly 1.37 crore households, or 17.4% of urban Indian households lived in a slum in 2011, data released by the Registrar General and Census Commissioner's office showed. The new data is difficult to compare with previous years, 
because the 2011 Census covers all 4,041 statutory towns in India, as compared to 2001 when only statutory towns with population over 20,000 were covered. The 2001 data had set India's slum population at 15% of the total population. 
    The census counted slums notified under various acts, those recognized by governments but not notified, and those that were in no way accepted by state governments, but fit the definition of a slum. Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation minister Ajay Maken said that the high proportion — over 37% — of slum households in this last, unrecognized, category was a serious problem, and committed to his ministry extending benefits like the Rajiv Awas 
Yojana to such slums too. "State governments are unwilling to admit to their being more slums in their cities because then they will have to provide these slums basic services like water and drainage," Maken said. 
    With the exception of sanitation, the indicators on housing amenities for slum and non-slum households in most of India are more similar than most would expect. Over 77% are permanent and 70% are owned, and not rented. Close to half are made up of just one room and most are home to one married couple. Over 70% of slum households get their water from a tap but just half get water inside their homes. Over 90% get electricity and most use LPG for cooking; 70% 
have a TV and 10% even a computer. The census data seems to indicate that the "more cellphones than toilets" line might be wrong for urban India: two out of three slum households have a toilet within the premises, while slightly fewer have a mobile phone. 
    More than one in five urban households in AP, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and Maharashtra lives in a slum. In absolute terms, Maharashtra has the highest number of slum blocks of any state – over 21,000 out of a total of just over 1lakh for the whole country. 

    Over a third of India's slum population lives in its 46 million-plus cities. Of the metros, Mumbai has the highest proportion of slum-dwelling households (41.3% of its population). Kolkata is next at nearly 30% with Chennai not far behind. Delhi has 14.6% of its households living in slums. Bangalore is best off of the five metros at less than 10%. 
    Among all million-plus cities, Vishakhapatnam has the highest proportion of slums (44.1% of households). However, Census authorities were treating with skepticism the unexplained spurt in slum populations across cities in AP.


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