India and China lift millions out of slums: UN
India and China have together lifted at least 125 million out of slums between 1990 and 2010, and improved the lives of slum dwellers more than any other country, a new UN report has said.
India has lifted 59.7 million people out of slum conditions since 2000. Slum prevalence fell from 41.5 per cent in 1990 to 28.1 per cent in 2010. This is a relative decrease of 32 per cent, the study found, according to the report called State of the World’s Cities 2010/2011.
“Lessening poverty and improving conditions in slums are part of India’s urban development policy,” the report said, pointing out four main reasons for it.
First, building the skills of the urban poor in their chosen businesses, and by providing them micro-credit. Second, providing basic services and development within slum settlements, thus improving living conditions.
Third, providing security of tenure to poor families living in unauthorised settlements, improving their access to serviced low-cost housing and subsidised housing finance. Fourth, encouraging the poor to take part in decision-making and community development efforts.
China has made the greatest progress on this front with improvements to the daily conditions of 65.3 million urban residents, the report said.
Proportionally, China’s urban population living in slums fell from 37.3 per cent in 2000 to some 28 per cent in 2010, a relative decrease of 25 per cent.
“Despite growing inequality due to the country’s rapid economic advance, China has improved living conditions by embracing economic reforms and implementing modernisation policies that have used urbanisation to drive national growth,” the report said.
Overall, the report finds that 227 million people in the world have moved out of slum conditions since 2000. At the same time, the study also stresses that 55 million new slum dwellers have been added to the global urban population since 2000.
“However, this achievement is not uniformly distributed across regions,” said Anna Tibaijuka, head of the UN Human Settlements Programme.
“Success is highly skewed towards the more advanced emerging economies, while poorer countries have not done as well,” she said.
Overall, the UN report finds that the number of people living in slums has risen from 777 million in 2000 to 830 million in 2010, and warns that unless urgent steps are taken the number could rise to 900 million in 2020.