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Urban poverty report launched

February 03, 2009 17:52 IST

Aiming at sensitising policy makers and planners towards the dynamics of poverty in cities, government released on Tuesday a report outlining the nature and extent of urban poverty in the country.

"The Urban Poverty Report 2009 shall give an idea of the dynamics of urban poverty, its impact on the economy and the possible ways of redressal," said Kumari Selja, minister of state for housing and urban poverty alleviation, while releasing the report in New Delhi.

A first of its kind report, it has been prepared with the support of United Nations Development Programme and by eminent academicians and researchers under the supervision of JNU professor Amitabh Kundu.

Hitting out at the elite, Selja said, "The challenge is to provide basic services to the urban poor and slum dwellers without letting the elite capture all the benefits, or without a subversive protest against a sharing of the strained city infrastructure resources from those who presently own them."

Referring to the global economic crisis, Selja said it is more important for us to concentrate on the urban poverty issue as it is different from rural poverty.

Urban poverty reflects more in terms of the lack of access to basic amenities, social security and entitlements than a simplistic monetary deprivation. The report, however, noted that not all slums dwellers exist below the poverty line.

They are suffering due to the poor city planning and urban land management and legislations. Ruling out any magic formula to solve the problem, she said it needs to be addressed in holistic manner with the participation of all stakeholders.

Highlighting the JNNURM initiatives, she said these programmes are launched with the aim of providing basic services to the poor.

The country's first report on urban poverty emphasises on the need to deliver basic services to the urban poor.

Kundu, who has played a key role in bringing out the the report said it is not a report on the poor in urban areas but a report on urbanisation keeping poverty at the centre of the analysis.

Among others, the report covers issues of basic services to urban poor, migration, education and health, unorganised sector and livelihoods.

It is hoped that the report would provide a baseline data and policy guidelines in India which will be detailed enough to enable the governments to develop effective and sustainable urban poverty reduction policies.

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