This introduction demystifies terms such as 'the urbanisation of poverty', 'absolute' and 'relative poverty' and the 'informalisation' and 'feminisation of poverty', and points out why urban poverty needs a different approach and set of solutions from rural poverty. Pro-poor urban governance follows on an acceptance of the poor as integral assets of the formal city
In all the noise over whether the urban poor can survive on a daily per capita expenditure of Rs 33 rupees or Rs 47, we miss the point that we need to move away altogether from the income/consumption approach to measuring poverty to measurement on the basis of urban habitat -- including access to safe water, sanitation and a clean household environment -- and livelihood/disaster vulnerabilities
The urbanisation of India project is being executed in the name of the 'urban poor'. But the urban poor themselves are lost in the debate over methodologies to identify and classify them and the thicket of entitlements, provisions and agencies to facilitate their 'inclusion' and 'empowerment'
Economic globalisation rides on the backs of millions of poor urban women, forced into cheap labour in an unregulated and insecure informal sector. The increased visibility of women in the workforce could actually be read as a sign of economic distress, not empowerment
Health, nutrition and wellbeing disparities in urban India are stark. Under-5 children in the most vulnerable sections of the urban poor are 2.5 times more undernourished than the urban rich. And their mortality rate is significantly higher than the urban aggregate. The urban poor are in fact far less likely to avail of ICDS and other schemes than the rural poor
While increased social exclusion and religious polarisation are pushing Muslims to urban areas, poverty amongst urban Muslims is 13-16% higher than the national average. In the western and northern states in particular, communalised state machineries and politics act as barriers to the economic and social mobility of Muslims. Malegaon, Mumbra and Bhiwandi in Maharashtra illustrate how poverty is concentrated and perpetuated amongst urban Muslims
13.9 million households were living in slums in urban India in 2011. While housing conditions within slums have improved between 1993 and 2008-09, BPL and Muslim households continue to have poor access to safe water supply and sanitation. They should be the focus of future policy
With income as the only indicator, an absurd 5% of Pune's population would be classified as poor. But the Pune Municipal Corporation itself accepts that 40% of the city lives in multidimensional poverty, suffering residential, occupational and social vulnerabilities. While Pune's poor have relatively higher levels of access to public services than the poor in other cities, a closer look reveals the extent of their vulnerability
The Rajiv Awas Yojana recognises the right to land and security of tenure of the urban poor, requires slums to be redeveloped or upgraded in-situ, and mandates community participation in rehousing plans. Then why are slum-dwellers federations in Karnataka rejecting the scheme and governments continuing to push for one-size-fits-all multi-storeyed housing and PPP models?