Slum life gets better, reveals survey

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With a significant percentage of slums now having power supply, drainage, garbage disposal and other facilities, it appears that living conditions in slums across the country are improving, a survey reveals.

The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), which falls under the ministry of statistics and programme implementation, surveyed 881 slums across 3,832 urban blocks between July and December 2012. The NSSO described a slum as a compact settlement with poorly-built, temporary tenements of at least 20 households with undesirable living conditions. In its survey, NSSO included notified slums as well as non-notified slums i.e. areas not designated as slums by municipal or local bodies.

The survey estimates that there are 33,510 slums in India’s urban areas, having 8.8 million households. Maharashtra hosts most of these: 23% or 7,723 slums.  

A vast majority of slums, 93.5%, have power supply and 71% have access to drinking water tap. The survey also found that for five facilities, — drainage, sewerage, garbage disposal, primary education and medical facilities — slums showed an improvement ranging from 15% to 45% compared to five years ago, although it didn’t provide comparative figures from its previous slum survey from July 2008- to June 2009. 

For instance, drainage facilities improved in 45.6% notified slums in cities with a population of over a million, such as in Mumbai. Still, 31% of all slums across India have absolutely no drainage facilities.

Slums in the same urban centres i.e. with a population of over a million, also witnessed a 26.9% improvement in primary education and 18.2% improvement in medical facilities. Garbage disposal too improved by 26.5% slums. And while garbage disposal facilities improved most, 44.3%, in notified slums in other urban areas, 27% of all slums have no arrangements for disposal of garbage.

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