67 years of In­de­pen­dence & still In­dia is home of Home­less peo­ple

Af­ter 67 years of In­de­pen­dence to­day In­dia is still con­sid­ered as a de­vel­op­ing coun­try, lakhs of peo­ple in In­dia are home­less, liv­ing with­out shel­ter in un­hy­gienic con­di­tion and sur­round­ing. On an­other hand In­dia’s econ­omy is grow­ing, In­dia is home of 70

Accommodation Times - - Feature -

On 15th Au­gust 2014, In­dia cel­e­brated its 68th In­de­pen­dence Day com­plet­ing 67 years of free­dom, but have we ac­tu­ally got free­dom? Af­ter com­plet­ing 67 years of In­de­pen­dence still many In­di­ans are home­less in the coun­try, lakhs of peo­ple are still de­prived of the most and much ba­sic need that is shel­ter. This raises many ques­tions like, have we re­ally achieved free­dom? Has the coun­try pro­gressed in this many years? What has gov­ern­ment done for poor home­less peo­ple in so many years? What is Home­less­ness? Ac­cord­ing to Cen­sus def­i­ni­tion, house­less house­holds are those which do not live in build­ings but stay in open or road­side, rail­way plat­forms, un­der fly­overs, etc. Home­less­ness is the con­di­tion and so­cial cat­e­gory of peo­ple who lack hous­ing, be­cause they can­not af­ford, or are oth­er­wise un­able to main­tain, a reg­u­lar, safe, and ad­e­quate shel­ter. A home­less per­son is de­fined into three cat­e­gories. In gen­eral it is said about an in­di­vid­ual who lacks a fixed, reg­u­lar, and ad­e­quate night­time res­i­dence; and an in­di­vid­ual who has a pri­mary night­time res­i­dence. Home­less­ness in In­dia As per the cen­sus of 2011, in In­dia, 9,38,348 home­less peo­ple are liv­ing in ur­ban ar­eas of the coun­try in­clud­ing 46,724 in the Na­tional Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory of Delhi. Peo­ple liv­ing in open ar­eas like pave­ments, rail­way plat­forms, hume pipes, un­der fly­overs and open spa­ces near tem­ples are de­scribed as home­less. It is es­ti­mated that one in ev­ery 100 peo­ple in In­dia's cities is home­less. To­tal ur­ban and ru­ral pop­u­la­tion is still 1.77 mil­lion peo­ple liv­ing with­out houses in In­dia in 2011. How­ever, the num­ber of home­less peo­ple in In­dia de­clined in 2011 even as families with no homes saw a rise in num­bers.

How­ever, there was a pick up in the num­ber of home­less house­holds as 0.449 mil­lion families in 2011 were with­out any shel­ter com­pared to 0.447 mil­lion house­holds in 2001. But the share of such families com­pared to to­tal families in the coun­try de­clined from 0.23% in 2001 to 0.18% in 2011.

In ab­so­lute terms, ur­ban pop­u­la­tion saw a rise in home­less pop­u­la­tion from 7.78 lakh peo­ple in 2001 to 9.38 lakh peo­ple in 2011, but ru­ral ar­eas wit­nessed a de­cline from 11.6 lakh peo­ple to 8.34 lakh peo­ple. How­ever, Ut­tar Pradesh had the high­est pro­por­tion of home­less peo­ple in the coun­try. Of the to­tal home­less, 18.56% was in in UP, fol­lowed by Ma­ha­rash­tra (11.9%) and Ra­jasthan (10.24%).

Home­less­ness in ru­ral ar­eas is mir­rored by an al­most equal rise in ur­ban ar­eas. As the home­less de­clined by about 66,000 house­holds in ru­ral ar­eas, it went up by about 69,000 house­holds in ur­ban ar­eas, record­ing a growth rate of 20.5% as against a de­cline of 28.4% in ru­ral ar­eas.

Fac­tors Con­tribut­ing to Home­less­ness

A wide ar­ray of fac­tors con­trib­ute to home­less­ness, but they can be thought of as fall­ing into one of two cat­e­gories: struc­tural prob­lems and in­di­vid­ual fac­tors that in­crease vul­ner­a­bil­ity. Struc­tural prob­lems 1. Lack of af­ford­able hous­ing

2. Changes in the in­dus­trial econ­omy lead­ing to un­em­ploy­ment

3. In­ad­e­quate in­come sup­ports the de-in­sti­tu­tion­al­iza­tion of pa­tients with men­tal health prob­lems and the ero­sion of fam­ily and so­cial sup­port. Fac- tors that in­crease an in­di­vid­ual's vul­ner­a­bil­ity

4. Phys­i­cal or men­tal ill­ness 5. Dis­abil­ity 6. Sub­stance abuse 7. Do­mes­tic vi­o­lence 8. Job loss Re­duc­ing home­less­ness will mean ad­dress­ing is­sues such as th­ese.

Since home­less­ness is a phrase in which a broad range of peo­ple and cir­cum­stances are con­cerned. Fac­tors that con­trib­ute to home­less­ness are also broad. They in­clude

1. Poverty- Home­less­ness and poverty are at­tached to­gether. Poor peo­ple are not in a po­si­tion to pay for hous­ing, food, child care, health care, and ed­u­ca­tion.

2. Drug Ad­dic­tion- Data in­di­cates that al­co­hol and drug abuse are ex­ces­sively high among the home­less in­hab­i­tants. Peo­ple who are poor and ad­dicted are ob­vi­ously at aug­mented risk of home­less­ness.

3. War- It causes un­ex­pected home­less­ness. Peo­ple who are in a good po­si­tion sud­denly loose their home due to bat­tle among coun­tries.

4. Over­crowd­ing and ha­rass­ment by land­lords.

5. Un­healthy re­la­tion­ships between young peo­ple and their par­ents or guardians. 6. Un­em­ploy­ment. 7. Di­vorce- Any­one in a fam­ily whether mother, fa­ther or child can be­come home­less due to sep­a­ra­tion. Sin­gle par­ents with de­pen­dent chil­dren are mostly at risk of home­less­ness.

8. Nat­u­ral dis­as­ter- Cy- clone, Tsunami and other calami­ties to­tally de­stroy the re­gion. The homes are de­stroyed and families gets dis­lo­cated. Gov­ern­ment’s Ini­tia­tives To erad­i­cate the home­less­ness gov­ern­ment has ini­ti­ated many schemes and are work­ing on new con­cepts like, the Tech­ni­cal Group con­sti­tuted by Min­istry of Hous­ing & Ur­ban Poverty Al­le­vi­a­tion in 2006 to as­sess the hous­ing short­age in the coun­try, had es­ti­mated that at the be­gin­ning of 11th Five Year Plan (2007-12), the hous­ing short­age in the coun­try was 24.71 mil­lion.

The Tech­ni­cal Group on Ur­ban Hous­ing Short­age for the 12th Plan (TG-12) in the con­text of the strat­egy of in­clu­sive devel­op­ment in the Twelfth Plan, ad­dress­ing the prob­lem of mis­match between sup­pli­ers of hous­ing and those need­ing them and bring­ing down the hous­ing short­age has es­ti­mated the ur­ban hous­ing short­age as 18.78 mil­lion at the be­gin­ning of the 12th Plan Pe­riod i.e. 2012.

The Min­is­ter fur­ther ‘Land’ and ‘Col­o­niza­tion’ are State sub­jects; there­fore it is the pri­mary re­spon­si­bil­ity of State Gov­ern­ments to pro­vide af­ford­able houses to all cit­i­zens. How­ever, in or­der to com­ple­ment and sup­ple­ment the in­dica­tives of State Gov­ern­ments and to in­cen­tivize and pro­mote the con­struc­tion of houses, the Min­istry of Hous­ing & Ur­ban Poverty Al­le­vi­a­tion has been im­ple­ment­ing var­i­ous hous­ing schemes like:

(i) Jawa­har­lal Nehru Na­tional Ur­ban Re­newal Mis­sion (JNNURM) with its two sub­mis­sion viz., Ba­sic Ser­vices to the Ur­ban Poor (BSUP) and In­te­grated Hous­ing & Slum Devel­op­ment Pro­gramme (IHSDP);

( ii) Ra­jiv Awas Yo­jana (RAY);

( iii) In­ter­est Sub­sidy Scheme for Hous­ing the Ur­ban Poor (ISHUP);

(iv) Af­ford­able Hous­ing in Part­ner­ship (AHP); and

Th­ese schemes cou­pled with other macro economic poli­cies and with the in­volve­ment of State Gov­ern­ments, Banks and other Pri­mary Lend­ing In­sti­tu­tions (PLIs) have re­sulted in re­duc­tion of hous­ing short­age in the coun­try.

But thus schemes can be proven effective, are they show­ing the de­sired out­come?

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