Schemes for Urban Renewal

All urban areas in independent India have been plagued by slums for sound economic reasons. Hence, the problem has refused to go away despite public demand for action and repeated efforts by individual state governments. In fact, if attempts to re-house slum dwellers in minimally acceptable dwellings had been efficient, urban areas would have become…

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All urban areas in independent India have been plagued by slums for sound economic reasons. Hence, the problem has refused to go away despite public demand for action and repeated efforts by individual state governments. In fact, if attempts to re-house slum dwellers in minimally acceptable dwellings had been efficient, urban areas would have become stronger magnets for the rural poor.
But several changes have taken place lately, allowing us a chance to do better in removing slums. One, urban incomes at the lowest strata have improved significantly. Two, consumer credit, including housing loans, has exploded and financial services firms see a huge business opportunity at the bottom of the pyramid. Three, governments, central and state, have a lot more resources – courtesy economic buoyancy leading to tax buoyancy – with which to attempt to remove slums. Four, urban renewal is at last receiving comprehensive policy attention with the launch of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.
But old habits die hard. Schemes for urban renewal are being formulated under the mission, which are bound to fail because ideological blinkers persist.
Farzana Nigar
Doranda, Ranchi