Mar 2, 2012

Mumbai, India home to slums and Bollywood

Children on ferris wheel in Dharavi, the largest slum of Mumbai, India
Mumbai has topped the list of cities that are home to a maximum number of slum dwellers in India, Unicef's annual State of the World's Children report said here on Wednesday.

The report with the theme 'Children in Urban World', released here, says India is home to over to 50,000 slums, of which 70 percent are concentrated in five states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.

"Nearly 70 percent of the slum population are concentrated in Maharashtra (35 percent), Andhra Pradesh (11 percent), West Bengal (10 percent), Tamil Nadu and Gujarat (7 percent each)," the report noted.

"According to Census 2011, urban population in India is around 377 million (nearly 30 percent). By 2026, this will grow up to 40 percent -- totaling to an estimated 535 million people -- who will be living in towns and cities," the report said.

Of the 377 million, around 97 million are below poverty line, says the Unicef report.
Experts say cities have always been assumed to be romantic in terms of opportunities due to the employment opportunities they carry.

"Urban areas are fast becoming home to people known as 'nowhere people'. This strata works at our houses, lives around us, and is actually the victim of displacement inhabiting urban slums," said S. Parasuraman, director of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai.

"Nearly 60 percent of Mumbai's slum population lives in 8 percent of land. The sanitation conditions, health facilities, infant mortality rate (IMR) is very dismal," Parasuraman added.

According to statistics from the ministry of housing and poverty alleviation, nearly 93 million people inhabit slums in India. Globally, children born in cities already account for 60 percent of the increase in urban population.

A family (a mother and daughter?) lives next to a public garbage bin on a major street in Mumbai, India.  Click photo to enlarge.  Photo credit: Sanjeev Sabhlok at sabhlokcity.com

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