Maseeh Rahman – India’s Slumdog Census Reveals Poor Conditions For One In Six Urban Dwellers

Photo: March 22, 2013

Report says 64 million Indians live in degrading conditions and that a full survey would uncover even more.

One in six urban Indians lives in slum housing that is cramped, poorly ventilated, unclean and “unfit for human habitation”, according to the country’s first complete census of its vast slum population. In other words, nearly 64 million Indians live in a degrading urban environment very similar to the shantytowns portrayed in the Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire.

The first-ever nationwide report – prepared from data collated for the 2011 national census – looks at urban slums in around 4,000 towns across India. (A slum was defined as a settlement of at least 60 households deemed unfit for human habitation, but the report does not cover every town and city in this vast country.)

India’s Planning Commission has recommended that urban clusters with as few as 20 households should be classed as slums. “We will be analysing the census data on the basis of the new definition also,” said Dr C Chandramouli, the registrar general. “This is likely to increase the number of slum households across the country.”

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