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DEFINITION OF SLUMS

The definition of slum varies from country to country. In India, each state has its
own definition of slum. The National Definition of Slum areas was set by the
Slum Areas Improvement and Clearance act of 1956.1 It defines them as places
where buildings:
1. are in any respect unfit for human habitation;
2. are by reason of dilapidation, overcrowding, faulty arrangement and design
of such buildings, narrowness or faulty arrangement of streets, lack of
ventilation, light, sanitation facilities or any combination of these factors
which are detrimental to safety, health and morals.

The Census of India defines a slum as "a compact area of at least 300 in population
or about 60-70 households of poorly built, congested tenements in an unhygienic
environment usually with inadequate infrastructure and lacking proper sanitary and
drinking water facilities."




Introduction to slums:
The definition of slum varies from country to country. In India, each state has its
own definition of slum. The National Definition of Slum areas was set by the
Slum Areas Improvement and Clearance act of 1956.1 It defines them as places
where buildings:
3. are in any respect unfit for human habitation;
4. are by reason of dilapidation, overcrowding, faulty arrangement and design
of such buildings, narrowness or faulty arrangement of streets, lack of
ventilation, light, sanitation facilities or any combination of these factors
which are detrimental to safety, health and morals.

The Census of India defines a slum as "a compact area of at least 300 in population
or about 60-70 households of poorly built, congested tenements in an unhygienic
environment usually with inadequate infrastructure and lacking proper sanitary and
drinking water facilities."









Slums are an urban phenomenon and they represent an imbalance between
migration into cities and economic growth within the city itself. Slums grow in the
following ways
3
:
1. Population growth of slums. Indian slums suffer from poor utilization of
the reproductive child health services provided by the government, lack of
awareness regarding birth spacing, and very low use of contraceptives,
writes researcher Shraddha Agrawal. Furthermore, "Literacy and age at
marriage are not raised in spite of laws made by the government.
4

2. Migration from rural areas to more developed areas by people looking to
earn more through higher-paying manual labor compared to the low-returns
life of agriculture. Kumari Selja, Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty
Alleviation, notes that despite rapid economic growth in urban areas,
poverty is still on the rise. The pace of urbanization in India is set to
increase, and with it, urban poverty and urban slums. Urban poverty is not a
spill-over of rural poverty as generally perceived and the manufacturing
sector in India has not been able to provide necessary pull to rural
workers,
6
writes researcher S.R. Hashim in the UNDPs Urban Poverty
Report on India.
3. Changes within a citys economic structures also contribute to urban
poverty. Restructuring and dismantling of larger industries in big cities like
Mills due to higher land prices, writes Hashim, leaves a large number of
workforce jobless forcing them into informal sector activities.

Reasons:

1. Poverty: Poverty is the lack of basic human needs, such as clean
water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter, because of the
inability to afford them. Causes of poverty include: scarcity of the basic
needs that the people require for living, high population growth, illiteracy,
discrimination, high competition, high cost of education, and lack of
industrialization. The effects of poverty could be seen among the people in
the form of unhealthiness, uneducated youths, growth in slum areas,
violence among people, and drug abuse.
2. Alcohol addiction: many slum dwellers are addicted to alcohol. They utilize
maximum part of their income in buying alcohol, due to which they are not
left with the amount with which they can improve their living conditions.,
1. Lack of education: lack of education in India is the sole reason for growing
slums. The people out there are not able to afford the high costs of education
or they do not believe in providing education to their young ones, leading to
growing slums.
3. Desire to lead a luxurious life: the people belonging to these slum areas
have high intentions to have all the luxurious antiquities with them, but they
dont want to be a part of the efforts to earn and lead such a luxurious life.
Problems:
People residing in slums face many problems like improper sanitation, unhygienic
environmental conditions, social, economic, health, educational and cultural
problems and many more. The result of all these problems is the mental frustration
faced by these slum people.
Violence and social unrest in slums: our discussion topic
The slum environment is the perfect breeding ground for a wide range of social
problems. High unemployment often causes men to stay around the home growing
increasingly frustrated with their pathetic situation and the worsening poverty.
Cramped conditions mean that there is nowhere to go when tensions rise, a factor
that regularly leads to domestic violence. Sometimes the situation goes to the other
extreme, where people abandon their homes, lured by the prospect of oblivion
through alcohol or drug abuse. Once people develop such problems the prospects
of finding work diminish. They fall deeper into poverty and the cycle continues.
It is obvious that slums represent a huge economic failure. Sprawling urbanization
has failed to produce corresponding economic growth, thereby leaving many city
dwellers behind. However, the problem of slums cannot only be defined in
economic terms. In our own experience working with slum dwellers in India, it is
clear that slums suffer from problems that are beyond economic ones.
Alcoholism is a disease endemic to slums and it leads to moral and economic
degradation. Many men take to consuming alcohol; this limits the amount of their
income that can be spent for their family, and it leads to social diseases of domestic
abuse as well as serious health problems. In order to advance any program in slum
areas, alcoholism must be discussed openly and managed.
Problem of substance abuse is rapidly increasing because of rapid urbanization and
maximally effects people living in urban slums.

Alcohol and opiates (consumed in different forms i.e. cough syrup, charas, ganga
etc.) are known to be associated with several social problems. Hence, the present
study was designed to know the status of substance abuse regarding alcohol and
cough syrup, among urban slums in Rohtak city. It was a cross sectional, interview
based (using semi-structured, pretested schedule), study carried by house-to-house
survey. Total of 956 individuals aged more than 15 years were enrolled in the
study.




Finally, apathy is a major contributor to suffering in slums. Slum residents, men
and women alike, hail from villages and come to the cities looking for better work.
Viewing themselves as temporary workers they tend to neglect the importance of
economic and social advancement. From medical to educational issues, residents
of slums are unwilling to make changes however simple to improve their lives.
This is not something that can or should be blamed on the residents themselves.
However, no program directed towards the social advancement of slum residents
can deny the role of motivation and positive reinforcement.
The majority of slum dwellers identify themselves with the city rather than with
their native place and plan to settle permanently in the city. In spite of poor
conditions in slums, second generation residents who are not nostalgic about their
rural background - feel that life in slum is reasonably tolerable and city life is
probably better than rural life.
In a survey conducted, the slum dwellers were asked about the violence and social
environment in the slum areas. They responded by saying that violence is the
biggest problem any slum dweller faces. Socially, there is not much friendly
environment. There is always a quarrel going on among the inhabitants regarding
any small matter, which could be rather dealt easily. Men out there either do not
have any work to do or even if they get some work, the wages are utilized by them
in consuming alcohol and not for the welfare of his family members. They at times
become violent due to this and react violently to their family members.
These slum dwellers find their life to be very difficult in such an unfriendly
environment, but still they have to continue staying there.
Slums are the necessity for the urban areas:
The city dwellers need domestic servants for their busy city life to work smoothly.
These city dwellers household jobs are managed by no one other than these slum
people. So, one cannot think of excluding them from city to get rid of slum areas.
But these people could be provided with better living conditions.
Lets get familiar with the solutions that could be practiced by the people to get rid
of these soclai problems.


Solutions:

Countries need to recognize that the urban poor are active agents and can
contribute to national growth: The government should take care that the people
living in slums and are willing to work get some work. This can help in controlling
the violent nature emerging in them.

Local governments should develop strategies to prevent the formation of new
slums. These should include access to affordable land, reasonably priced materials,
employment opportunities, and basic infrastructure and social services.
Local governments should develop strategies to prevent the formation of new
slums. These should include access to affordable land, reasonably priced materials,
employment opportunities, and basic infrastructure and social services.
Public investments must focus on providing access to basic services and
infrastructure Working with the urban poor, cities need to invest in housing,
water, sanitation, energy, and urban services, such as garbage disposal. These
services and infrastructure must reach the poor living in informal settlements.
Role of the government and the NGOs. In a usual scenario a migrated laborer
secures a job with security agencies, waste management service providers,
contractors, householders etc. They usually employ slum dwellers as rag pickers,
sweepers, construction labors, masons, carpenters, domestic helps etc. For such
migrating labors there should be a centralized labor registration center where
they can register themselves and secure their labor ID number. These centers
should have direct contact with prospective employers and they should try to find
suitable jobs for these workers according to their skills. These migrated labors
should also be allotted dwelling units and the accommodation expenses should be
borne by their respective employers. The dwelling units should be located on the
outskirts of the town and transport facilities should be made available to the
workers in order to make commutation easy for them. Locating proper dwelling
units on the outskirts would minimize the proliferation of dingy slums in the city.
Along with these arrangements certain regulations should be made by the
government:
A minimum wage rate should be created for workers immigrating to town.
Computerized ID numbers should be allotted to the laborers for maintaining
records.
ESI dispensaries and counseling services should be provided in dwelling
areas. All labors should be centrally registered
Strict rules should be formulated to prevent the misuse of funds.
Aim for 1 Lakh units of construction every six months.
Import high volume construction machinery from China for the speedy
construction.
Factories with a workforce of more than 100 labors should have compulsory
dwelling units. The accommodation facilities should be made available
before the commencement of any project




NGOs can play a vital role in improving the existing conditions of slums. NGOs
should work for the underprivileged in the slums. NGOs should work in close
coordination with government and make sure that the following facilities are
available to the slum dwellers:
Counselling services to minimize crime and other problems.
Basic amenities like schooling, proper sanitation, potable water, health
facilities and common electricity with minimal charges.
Free weekly medical and healthcare facilities.
Manifestation of income and other gaps in health, education, skills, etc. can be seen
in slums and squatter settlements of most urban areas in developing countries.
Slums are not 'problems' that have to be 'solved' - but are indeed results of lopsided
and vested urban policies covering land ownership, infrastructure provision and
maintenance, and other socio-economic issues. And for the poor, they represent a
solution. The need of the hour
is to find light in the darkest of the dark scenario and infuse life in the lives that are
still waiting for the silver lining
better residential facilities: living conditions of these slum dwellers are not up to
the mark. They should be provided with all the basic necessities of life, which
creates a feeling of satisfaction among them.
Health and hygiene should be taken care of:the slum dwellers should be provided
with free health facilities. This is very important to keep the slum population
healthy as health is the prmary thing which is given importance by the humans.
Education: proper education is the key to lead a good life, as education creates self
confidence, improves personal understandings, broadens our thinking, and helps us
to become a civilized person. An educated person has his own style of living and a
status in the society. Educated ones are more skillful than the uneducated ones. So,
they can be self dependent and earn a living for themselves and for their family.
Other than this, he is less violent because he understands and responds to the
situations in a better way. Hence, education is must for the slum areas.

Silver lining

The problems prevailing in slums give us the challenge to rebuild a society that is
more equitable where equal opportunities could be provided to all for living with
dignity. Many hurdles have to be overcome to achieve this objective.
The despair of the underprivileged has to be replaced with hope, their fear with
security, and their ignorance with knowledge. Give them the opportunity to secure
good health, immunity from curable diseases, employment opportunities, sufficient
and nutritious food, clean water and a clean environment, capability to protect their
children against exploitation and discrimination. Their children should have the
right to get adequate education for becoming responsible citizens of India.

Slum dwellers should be empowered to enable them to improve the quality of their
own lives