By Shamindra Nath Roy on February 26th 2021
India’s urban landscape is dotted with a diversity of urban areas, where large metros like Delhi or Mumbai co-exist alongside a dense network of small towns. While house-building across the urban spectrum was significant and was equally high in all tiers of cities and towns over the past decade, the leap from houses to housing (viz. access to basic amenities) was not similarly universal over the same period.
By examining access to a bundle of basic amenities – electricity, piped water and in-house latrines – by homeowners in slum (and non-slum) households and documenting how this varies across states and cities in India, the authors of this data-centric piece offer insights into how the quality of housing structures need to urgently be seen alongside access and quality of basic amenities to ensure improved quality of life in Indian cities. In a post-CoVID moment, these data points urge us to reflect on how inflexible land regulations and services delivery mechanisms have historically disadvantaged slum households in terms of public provision of, as well as private investment in, basic amenities.
The Swachh Bharat Mission won’t work in Covid times unless it is equipped with wastewater management, better infrastructure and protects sanitation workers better.
Water and sanitation concerns of Indian slums need to be addressed in the fight against coronavirus, otherwise it can have a nationwide impact.