Report No. 138
2.8. At this stage we would like to quote from N.C.U. Report.1-
"5.7. Manifestations of Urban Poverty
5.7.1. Urban poverty manifests itself in many forms. The most visible of those are:
Proliferation of slums and bustees: Fast growth of an informal sector increasing casualisation and under-development of labour. Crushing pressure on civic services: High rate of educational deprivation and health contingencies.
Retarded growth of physical and mental capacities: A growing sense of hopelessness among the urban poor, resulting in rising crime rates and group violence.
1. Report of the National Commission on Urbanisation (August 1988), Vol. II, Part III, pp. 94-95, paras. 5.7.1 to 5.7.3, 5.8.3, 5.9.1.
Growth of Slums and Bustees
5.7.2. The poor cannot afford to pay the growing market prices of pucca shelter or buy land at the fabulous prices charged near their work-places. They cannot afford the cost of transporting themselves or their stock in trade over long distances. They, therefore, settle on marginal lands near their work-places, which are otherwise considered unfit for habitation by the non-poor classes. Examples are river banks, margins of nullas and drainage canals, marginal railways lands and swamps. Their constructions are of cheap scrap and salvaged material like gunny bags, tarpaulin, scrap tin sheets, wooden planks etc. The habitat is irregular as it is unplanned. Civic amenities if available, are minimal. As a result, public sanitation and personal hygiene break down.
5.7.3. The growth of slums, is, therefore, a symptom of the inability of people to procure land and shelter through market transactions, in which they find themselves out-priced since government has failed to regulate urban land resources in such a way that poor can have equitable access to them. Estimates of slum population vary, but its growth is dramatically highlighted by some examples. In Calcutta roughly 35 per cent. of the city's population lives in identified slums, but it is estimated that the population of all slums, and squatter settlements is much higher.
According to a handbook of the National Buildings Organisation (1982-83), 67 per cent. of the households in Calcutta lived in one-room units. In Madras about 38 per cent. of the population lived in declared slums in 1971 end 54 per cent. of the households lived in one-room dwellings. In Hyderabad, the slum population jumped from one lakh in 1962 to a staggering 5 lakh by 1981. In Delhi, squatters household are estimated to have grown from 12.741 in 1951 to 1.13 lakhs by 1975-76.
Increasing Casualisation and Under-employment of Labour
5.8.3. There is also increasing casualisation of labour and persistence of under-employment in Urban areas, according to Sarvekshana, in April 1986, the percentage of casual labour increased from 13.2 per cent. to 14.75 per cent. in the case of males and from 25.59 to 27.27 per cent. in the case of females during the 1977-83 period. The percentage of unemployed, as measured by current-day status during the same period, increased from 5.35 to 5.45 per cent. for males, although it decreased from 2.11 to 1.72 per cent. for females.
Child labour accounts for nearly fifteen lakh workers in urban areas and continues to constitute about 8 per cent. of employed males and about 7 per cent. of employed females. Unemployment amongst the educated, especially graduates, is very high in the age, of group 15-29 years. In Madras, it was found to be 20 per cent. of males and 15 per cent. of females (Sarvekshana, October 1986).
5.9. Crushing Pressure on Civic Amenities
5.9.1. The civic authorities are finding themselves increasingly incapable of providing civic amenities to the large influx of population within theii boundaries. The population being poor, is unable to meet the cost of expanding such services which have to be supported from State grants or taxation of a narrow base of tax-payers. The per capita water consumption was reported to be between 16-23 litres per day in slum areas in Bangalore, the number of persons per tap varying between 40 to 428 in same city.
According to the report of the task force of the Planning Commission on Financing of Urban Development, 31.2 per cent. of the urban population was not covered by sanitation services. According to a DDA study of 28,100 squatter households (1986), a but of 2.5 x 3 metres accommodated about 4 persons. About 50 per cent. of dwellers were using open areas for defecation. Dirty water generally accumulated and stagnated by the side of drains."
These extracts from the Report of the National Commission on Urbanisation indicate the magnitude of the problem.