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Introduction, meaning and definitions of slums –


Slums have been accepted as a lived reality, an inevitable phenomenon with urban development in all capitalist countries. Slums are present in most cities of the world, whether in developed or developing countries. 


The urban malaise of homelessness and man’s efforts to remedy it under the extreme conditions of poverty and illiteracy are seen in their most concrete form in slums, slums, slum-towns and illegal colonies. A slum is nothing but an area of substandard housing. Thus the problem of slums is essentially a problem of shelter for the poor.

According to the UNESCO document, a slum can be defined as “a building, a group of building, or a settlement characterized by overcrowding, deterioration, unhygienic conditions, or the absence of facilities or amenities, which are the result of these conditions or any of them.” Reason is in danger. The health, safety or morals of its residents or community.

According to Berger, “Slums can be described as areas with substandard housing conditions within a city. A slum is always an area. A single, neglected building in poor condition does not constitute a slum.”


Slum is an area of darkness, an area of poverty. Mass migration to cities became a natural consequence as huge factories began to market their goods aided by power-driven transport. The factory—the railroad and the slum—is how Mumford portrays the elements of the new industrial town.

Slums develop because of social norms and practices. Slum is a complex product of many factors. poverty is an o

characteristic of India and other industrialized countries. Two sectors, the formal (organised) and the informal (unorganised) co-exist side by side. They reveal structural dualism in urban economies in terms of size, mode of production, organization, technology, productivity and labor markets.

A slum is nothing but an area of substandard housing. Slums have been accepted as a lived reality, an inevitable phenomenon with urban development in all capitalist countries. Slums are present in most of the cities of the world, whether in developed countries or in developing countries.

We will continue our discussion on the problem of slums in the next unit.



Slums: Profile of an Indian Slum (continued); urban violence


  1. To acquaint the students with the problems of Dharavi slum dwellers.
  2. To suggest measures to solve the problems of slums


  1. Explain the meaning and nature of urban violence


  1. To examine the recent trends in urban violence and suggest measures to control crime and violence.


Profile of an Indian Slum: Dharavi: Introduction


Dharavi is one of the largest slums in Asia. It is a slum and administrative ward in parts of the Sion, Bandra, Kurla and Kalina suburbs of Mumbai, India. It is sandwiched between Mahim in the west and Sion in the east, and is spread over an area of 175 hectares of 0.67 square miles. Modern Dharavi has a population of 600,000 to over one million. In expensive Mumbai, Dharavi offers a cheap but illegal alternative where rents are much lower. Dharavi exports goods across the world.

Today’s Dharavi is not like the fishing village it once was. A town within a town, it is an endless stretch of narrow filth lanes, open sewers and cramped slums. In a city where house rents are among the highest in the world, Dharavi offers a cheap and affordable option to those who move to Mumbai to earn a living. The rent here can be as low as Rs 185 per month. Since Dharavi is located between two of Mumbai’s main suburban train lines, most people find it convenient for work. Even the tiniest of rooms usually have a gas stove and continuous electricity. Many residents have a small color television with cable connection which ensures they can watch their favorite soaps. Some of them even have video players.

The majority of Dharavi’s residents belong to the Dalit caste, but several other castes and tribes are also present. Minorities include Christians, Muslims and Buddhists.

Traditional pottery in Dharavi

Apart from the pottery and textile industries, there is an increasingly large recycling industry, which processes recyclable waste from other parts of Mumbai. Financial services are important, with an estimated 15,000 single-room factories in the district.

Dharavi has a large number of flourishing small scale industries which produce embroidered garments, export quality leather goods, pottery and plastics. Most of these products are made in manufacturing units spread across slums and sold in domestic and international markets. The annual business turnover here is estimated to exceed $650 million.

An urban redevelopment plan is proposed for the Dharavi area, managed by American-trained architect Mukesh Mehta. The plan includes 40,000,000 square feet of residential and commercial space for sale as well as the construction of 30,000,000 square feet of housing, schools, parks and roads to serve the existing 57,000 families living in the area.




There has been significant local opposition to the plans, mainly because existing residents are only going to receive 225 square feet of land. Furthermore, only those families who lived in the area before the year 2000 are set for resettlement. Concerns have also been expressed by residents, who fear that some of their small businesses in the informal sector may not be relocated under the redevelopment plan. The government has said that it will legalize and relocate only those industries which are not polluting. The state government plans to redevelop Dharavi and turn it into a modern township with proper housing and shopping complexes, hospitals and schools. The project is estimated to cost $2.1 billion.

Dharavi has serious public health problems due to the lack of toilet facilities, which is further exacerbated by flooding during the monsoon season. As of November 2006, Dharavi had only one toilet per 1,440 residents in Mahim Creek, a local river, which is widely used by local residents for urination and defecation, leading to the spread of infectious disease. Lack of supply of drinking water is also a problem in the area.



solution to the problem of slums


The following programs are very important to deal with the problem of slums –

1) Slum Clearance Programme: Slums are mainly of two types – permanent and illegal settlements. In permanent type of slums, new buildings should be constructed with government loans and subsidies as per the specifications laid down by the government. It should have two living rooms with independent san

Eatery Block. The rent charged should be economical. As they are unauthorized and hence demolished. This happens when there is some public construction like road widening. However, these people move to a nearby area and form a new slum.

Slum clearance should not be aimed at driving people away because they are troublemakers. They should be rehabilitated and given proper compensation. If it is important to remove a slum area, then it should be equally important to settle it elsewhere. And this plan will not work unless the new place is also convenient for employment and travel to work.




Therefore, they should not be sent to very distant places but kept at a feasible distance. For the rehabilitation programme, the participation of slum dwellers should be availed.


The slum dwellers should be educated and motivated to change their lives for the better. The slum clearance or slum eradication program is limited to the existing stock of slums and does not consider the influx of migrants who will create new slums.

Replacing dilapidated structures with satisfactory structures is not a sound solution without proper social education as it is well known that people sell their new house and build another slum elsewhere.

Slum-lords, landlords also act as ‘vested interest groups’ using their money and muscle power to drive away the original residents of the new buildings. The new residential area should have facilities and services such as garbage collection, proximity to provision stores, clean eating houses, etc. It should also have a playground and a park and should have adequate transport facilities.

2) Slum Improvement Programme: The program of cleaning slums is very difficult. There is huge cost involved and the time factor is very long. Besides, by the time the new building comes up, new jhuggis are formed. The continuous flow of migrants has aggravated the situation. Hence the focus was on slum improvement schemes, which included providing basic amenities like water, toilets, electricity, drainage, ration shops etc.

3) Voluntary organization should be provided assistance by the government for the construction of such slums. Once the necessary facilities are provided, the people themselves must take care of these facilities and maintain them properly. More emphasis is laid on environmental improvement of these settlements. The benefit of this program is not only in terms of cost and time savings, but it also displaces slum dwellers. They are kept in the same house in better condition. However, the authorities should not increase the fare and see that

Minimum standard of environmental cleanliness and essential services should be maintained.


  Welfare Activities: Whether it is slum clearance or slum improvement, the success of many remedial measures depends on the people in the slum and the treatment given to them by the larger society. The slum problem is essentially a human problem and not merely economic and physical and hence its solution should also be from a human perspective.




Free education should be given to the slum dwellers especially the children. This will give them the benefit of scientific knowledge and understanding of their civic duty. After all, the right things attract man. The locality should have a school, a library and a reading room.

The question of health and hygiene should be given utmost importance. There should be non-formal education given to men and women in this field. It will educate the local people to maintain necessary standards of hygiene to prevent disease.

There should be facilities for recreation for children, youth and old people of both sexes. There should be provision for indoor and outdoor games. Television, radio, magazines, newspapers give the slum dwellers the latest information about the world so that they can be with the mainstream population of the country and the world. Therefore, recreational facilities should not only be entertaining and entertaining but also informative and educative.

If a slum area can provide some employment opportunities to the local people especially women then it would be really ideal. There may be small jobs to keep residents busy and earn a little extra income. A better income will definitely lead to a better standard and quality of life. Day care centers should also be arranged for the children of working women.

Lastly, residents should offer voluntary counseling services. Families can seek advice for their difficulties with children’s behavior problems, landlord or neighbor harassment, or any other matter. This will help them come up with scientific, objective solutions and more than that it will prevent disasters like violence. It can solve many personal and social problems.

4) Government Policy: The government policy to deal with the slum problem is far reaching and very effective.

Government should implement Urban Land C

Ill Act. Strictly so that there is an equal distribution of land. Adequate land should be acquired to build low budget small houses for poor people.

Licensing of new industries or its use for expansion of existing industries should be done after obtaining no objection certificate from the local body.




Local labor and locally available materials should be used. The municipality should regularly deal with the servicing and improvement of substandard housing.

The policies of the government for the establishment of housing and industries should be such that decentralization takes place and the population moves out of the main city.

Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) is providing planned housing for the urban poor. Even many companies have made colonies for their employees.

If the government provides more employment opportunities in rural areas, then the magnitude of urban migration can also be controlled.

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