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Slums and associated problems UPSC |Settlements | Geography of India

Slum settlements are a type of settlement that is illegally settled on public land in urban areas. It is generally found near airports, railway stations, railway lines, riverbanks, near markets, etc.

As per UN-HABITAT, slums are characterized by:

  • Substandard house.
  • Very high population density.
  • Home of urban poor.
  • Lacking tenure security.
  • Unsystematic development.

Examples of Slums are,

  • India's largest and Asia's second-largest Slum is Dharavi, which is located in the middle of Mumbai. It spreads in 230 hectares that has more than 5 lakh population. The life expectancy of people living in the Dharavi is about 40 years.
  • Neza in Mexico is the largest Slum in the world.

As per NSSO 2012 report:

  • There are 33,510 slums in India.
  • 17.4 % of the urban population lives in slum areas.
  • The highest slum area is in Maharashtra.

Causes of Slums development:

There are two main reasons for slum development in India:
  • The partition of India led to the formation of large-scale slums in the Delhi and Kolkata regions.
  • Slum areas were formed in most of the cities due to unplanned urban development. Slums are a by-product of unplanned urbanization.

Unplanned urban growth is characterized by the following:
  • Uncontrolled rural-urban migration leads to a lack of basic infrastructure like land and house in the city, due to which the poor living in the city are forced to live in slums as they do not have enough money to pay the expensive rent.
  • Due to the growing informal economy, people's jobs have become insecure and many people do not even get work daily, due to which people live in slums by building temporary houses.

During the last three decades, slum areas expanded rapidly in the urban centers of India due to the following reasons:
  • The demand-supply gap for urban infrastructure (mainly houses and land) widened after liberalization, privatization, globalization (LPG) reforms. Due to this slum settlements have increased further.
  • LPG reforms have not provided equal benefits to all people and have widened the gap between the rich and the poor.
  • With limited access to the financial resources of urban dwellers, especially the poor masses, they are unable to buy homes or pay expensive rents. Due to which people prefer to live in slums because the rent there is a lot of work.
  • Due to poor urban governance, paucity of resources, widespread corruption, unplanned urban infrastructure, etc., slums spread but do not develop.

Influence of Slums in the urban environment:

The following are the implications of slums on urban centers:
  • A large population of slum areas suffers from waterborne and other diseases like TB, AIDS, Cholera. This increases the health burden in the urban center.
  • Due to the uncertainty in income, it increases the crime rate in the urban center.
  • In the urban center, beggars also increase social evils like child trafficking, prostitution, etc.
  • Children, women, and the elderly are generally malnourished in slum areas.
  • Education and health infrastructure are lacking.
  • The main source of labor supply in the city is the slums which provide cheap service.

Government steps for slum development:

  • Slum rehabilitation act 1956
  • National housing scheme
  • AMRUT, smart city
  • The government aims to replace all slum areas with concrete homes by 2045.
Try to solve the following questions:
  • “Slums are an urban menace” Elucidate with Indian cities as examples. ( UPSC 2007)
  • How do the ‘Push’ and ‘Pull’ factors operate for the emergence of slums in the metropolises of India? ( UPSC 2009)
  • Define slums and explain their problems. ( UPSC 2013)
  • How do slums develop? Give concrete suggestions for their improvement. ( UPSC 2016)
  • Why have slum areas expanded in the urban centers of India during the last three decades?  How do they influence the urban environment? ( 66th BPSC)

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10 February 2022 at 08:06 ×

very helpful and to the point content ....thank u so much

Congrats bro Unknown you got PERTAMAX...! hehehehe...