Forum of Informal Urban Poor Workers (FIUPW)

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How smart is the Smart City Idea !! A Thought on World Town Planning Day

How smart is the Smart City Idea !! A Thought on World Town Planning Day

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Indian Towns sans planning!

by Ananta Prasad

The main challenges of urbanization in India are shortage of housing which is 18.78 million according to the 2011 census which Mr Venkeya Naidu, also stressed at the Plenary Session of Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference of Housing and Urban Development (APMCHUD) in Seoul recently.

The official statement of Minister emphasized stating that though accommodating slightly less than one third of the total population, the urban centres in India contribute a substantial part of the Gross Domestic Product already with 63 per cent in 2007 and the same is expected to increase to 75 per cent in 2021. However, the new Modi govt has their vision of Houses for all by end of 2012.

It is expected that by 2050, almost 50 percent of Indian population will constitute the urban areas and the Government of India is charged up with comprehensive urban up-liftment through improving quality of public transport, providing drainage, sanitation, waste management, water recycling and wi-fi facilities for public and commercial areas, added in the official note.

It is noted that World Town Planning Day is being celebrated in 30 countries of four continents on 8th November. It is a special day to recognize and promote the role of planning in creating livable urban communities. For fast growing countries like India the scenario of Town Planning is a myth. Sadly the town planners are yet to bring inclusive city planning. It has been a major issue in Indian cities that the urban planners have continuously ignored urban slums and the children in specific. Children and adolescents living in slums have been ignored as active stakeholder of urban renewal policies and programmes.

 According to HUPA, in India, 70.6% of urban population is covered by individual water connections while in china this is 91%, in South Africa 86% and in Brazil 80%.  Duration of water supply in India cities is between one to six hours. According to 2011 census, 13% of urban population defecate in the open, 37% are connected by open drains and 18% are not connected at all. 7.6 million young children living in urban poverty in Indian sufferer due to improper town planning in the country.The air quality has also deteriorated sharply carrying with it concomitant health costs. It has impacted directly to the children causing several diseases.

 Strategy to integrate networking of slums to city infrastructure and developing investment plans for slum infrastructure should be given priority as facts shows that slums have 20-25% of population but use less than 3 percent of land. The poor especially the children do not have any formal stake over land and hence are not a part of the planning process indicates the gap between the planners and the reality. Time has come for the planners to visioning the world class cities with proper inclusion of urban poor and young children living in it.

  It is noted that the central government has two major policies such as JnNURM and RAY for urban development where there has been plans to redevelop slums and to make India free from slums. But civil society members across India are now advocating for an inclusive development for all where women and children have equal share in the planning process and ensure a safe living condition for all.

 Keeping in mind the above statistics and information, if we analyse the statement by Naidu at Seoul things are very much superficial. The government has plans to adopt modern scientific methods of town and country planning practices based on Geographical Information System (GIS) in urban development. It is worth mentioning here that many programmes such as RAY and BSUP is facing issues like ownership of land as many slums in India are in forest lands or having such dispute. Any such relocation of people from existing set up to a farer place is simply not solving the issue of achieving Slum free India.

Again plans of extension of metro services to important and major urban centres, development of twin cities and creating infrastructure in satellite cities are other priority areas where now the new government is focusing on which is in other way ignoring the middle class which constitutes more than 40 percent in any urban settlement.

While the last budget it was announced for 100 new smart cities, now many civil society organisations have been questioning on the smartness of this smart city idea. However, every single day poor living condition is forcing most inhabitants of urban India to a unhealthy and unsafe well-being. Despite strengthening the existing plans in terms of hassle free execution of Urban Developmental plans, the new idea of smart cities seems very unreal in terms of implementation as the budgetary allocation is not sufficient.

The existing issues  that every urban set up in India is facing is going to be doubled of these smart city plans execute because of the obvious reason of non inclusiveness of such an idea.

(The writer is a Bangalore based development journalist and researcher on Urban Planing and Slum Development in India)

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Participatory design is not trying to ask people to validate the ‘right’ answer!

Participatory design is not trying to ask people to validate the ‘right’ answer!

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ELEMENTAL SA led by prominent Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena was presented with a Global Holcim Awards Finalist 2012 certificate for the Sustainable post-tsunami reconstruction master plan, of Constitución.

The master plan was developed after the 2010 earthquake and tsunami that struck Constitución, a city of 46,000 people located on the shore of the Pacific Ocean and 300km southwest of Chile’s capital, Santiago. 8.8 Earthquake Chile – Sustainable reconstruction master plan proposes a public-private strategy to respond with “geographical answers” to the “geographical threats” of the earthquake and tsunami risk.

Instead of considering a construction ban or a massive barrier along the risk zones, the project proposes to plant the flood-prone areas in order to break the waves. Located behind this first line of defense are facilities that have specific restrictions on the use and layout of ground floor areas. These two interventions are accompanied by an evacuation plan as the third protection element. The aim is a long-term preservation of the city at its historical position next to the estuary mouth – a strategic location for the city’s economy. The complimentary concept is to create public open spaces along the banks of the river that alleviate the lack of inner-city recreation areas as well as support the dissipation of rainwater runoff in order to avoid further flooding.

Half a good house is better than one small one

“Participatory design is not trying to ask people to validate the right answer – but starts by understanding what is the right question,” says Alejandro Aravena.

Supplemented by empirical evidence from the most recent tsunami, the architects relied on mathematical models and laboratory trials. Implementing their master plan proved very challenging both politically and socially, because it required the city to expropriate private land along the riverbank. Elemental’s successful approach was to rely on participatory design to define the citizens’ needs and engage them in the planning process. Today, four years after the earthquake, the individual projects from the master plan are being implemented.

In Constitución, the population has managed to apply the necessary innovation to ensure its protection against future flooding. By adopting a bottom-up approach, in a very constructive way a joint decision has been reached regarding what the city should look like in the future. This exemplary concept is not restricted to Constitución, but could also apply in many geographies around the world that have been destroyed by natural disasters.
elemental Elemental proposed combining the funds available for temporary emergency shelters and social housing to provide better-quality shelters with a higher initial cost that could then be dismantled and reused in an incremental social-housing scheme. The architects designed the social housing units as half of a good house instead of a complete, but small one: building-in the possibility for residents to double the floor area of the house to 80 square meters. Next to each built section of the row house is an open space of the same size into which residents can expand their house. Higher quality social housing eventually increases in value and provides families with capital growth where the collateral can be used to guarantee a loan for a small business, or pay for higher education for children.

Innovation in the built environment in this project did not come from new materials, new techniques or new systems: it came from having the courage to follow common sense ideas, to understand the needs of the people of Constitución, and by viewing the problem in terms of both the micro- and macro-environments.

source: http://www.holcimfoundation.org/

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People Building Better Cities – Exhibition on Inclusive Development

People Building Better Cities – Exhibition on Inclusive Development

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PRIA and PBBC (Global Studio) exhibition inaugurated on 4th October 2013 at the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), Delhi with support of National Institute of Urban Affairs and Forum of Informal Urban Workers.

The exhibition descriptively engages the viewer towards various initiative, tools and practices of Global Studio and PRIA towards an inclusive urban development. The inauguration ceremony was followed by a walkthrough of all the panels and works done and was followed by an enriching panel discussion. The panel discussion was chaired and crisply moderated by Mr. Chetan Vaidya- Director, SPA .

Mr. Manoj Rai, Director-PRIA touched upon the need of a revolution of a thought process that doesn’t see the poor as the ‘other’. This thought process then can infiltrate into making programmes such as Rajiv Awas Yojana, National Livelihood Mission or even the addressal of migrants in urban areas, a success. He also touched upon a study that PRIA has initiated to identify and declare the ‘economic contribution of the urban poor in the city’s GDP’. The findings of the study would be revealed on the 15th at Habitat Centre, Delhi.

Ms. Shayamala Mani, Professor, NIUA who has done detailed work in waste management and inclusion of waste pickers, spoke about the attitude of lay citizens. More often than not we blame the policy and governance, but on ground one experiences that first block in ‘including’ the poor comes from the mental block of the middle class and the rich. She correctly said that by ‘including’ the poor, it is not a favour that the privileged society does, rather it is a right of the poor and the duty of the privileged sect to make an inclusive urban society.

Mr. Dharmendra Kumar, Secretary Janpahl, representing FIUPW elucidated the power of the community. Interestingly he highlighted how city like Delhi is urbanising and some of this urbanisation is inclusive such as Delhi Metro which has given a legitimate livelihood to rickshaw pullers, while some such as carbon hungry infrastructure and flyovers that exclude the poor and are not sustainable. He stressed on the fact how we need to relook our planning methods and practices such as building gated communities that over time are just increasing the gap between rich and poor. Today more than ever before, there is greater need for communicate on between the rich and poor to contribute together to sustainable inclusive urban development.

Dr. Neelima RIsbud, Head of Housing Department, SPA and Coordinator of National Resource Centre of MHUPA spoke about the nuanases of working in a urban poor settlement as a practioneer. She is also spoke about how our education system needs to familiarise the urban planner to be inclusive in its thought, speech and actions and not just in paper. The planner needs to recognise the potential and power of the urban poor. She also touched upon recent occurrings where in the judicial system has often not supported the poor and with pressure of the middle class and rich, victimised the poor. There is also a growing market pressure in urban poor settlements which is making the urban poor vulnerable. She also stressed on the need of capacity building of our urban local bodies towards aspects of inclusive development and community participation.

An overarching theme that all the panellist touched was upon bette governance and more process oriented than project oriented development projects that ensures better and successful community participation.

The exhibition is on till the 18th October at SPA.  See some glimpses here:

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The exhibition is also traveling at other locations in the city:

  • October 7, Monday and 8, Tuesday Janpahal Shelter for Homeless with Janpahal and India FDI Watch
  • October 9, Wednesday and 10, Thursday Baljeet Nagar with HAQ
  • October 11, Friday and 12, Saturday Seemapuri with All India Kabadi Mazdoor Mahasangh
  • October 14, Monday and 15, Tuesday Rohini with All India Rickshaw Pullers Association
  • Oct 17, Thursday, and 18, Friday B-5 Vasant Kunj with Jhuggi Jhopri Ekta Manch

7th and 8th event was a success, catch some glimpses below:

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The Seemapuri exhibition will feature an exhibition and sale of innovative, upcycled products from the local all-women cooperative Kabad Se Jugad, and a screening of the documentary ‘ Don’t Waste People’ by Julia Waterhouse

There will also be informal talks and discussions with
Dr. B.C. Sabata, Sr. Scientific Officer, Dept. of Environment
Mr. Ravi Agarwal, Artist and Environmental Activist

At Rohini, enjoy the Installation and demonstration of solar-powered and hybrid rickshaw prototypes ‘Adda’ discussion community issues.

Dont Miss it!!

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National Green Assembly on “ Waste Legislation and Waste Pickers”

National Green Assembly on “ Waste Legislation and Waste Pickers”

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National Green Assembly on

“Waste Legislation and Waste Pickers”

New MSW draft rules continue to exclude Waste Pickers

 Date: 23rd October

Time: 10:00 am to 1:30 pm

Place: Constitution Club, Rafi Marg, New Delhi.

We  request you to participate in the dialogue and enrich it with your expert views on the matter.

There is urgent needto assess the measures that the government has taken over the past decade to improve waste management in the country. Millions of dollars have been spent in large scale, centralised technochratic solutions with little impact or improvement in levels of recycling. The Draft MSW Rules, 2013, do nothing to reform the situation. Instead, they seek to continue with the status quo and only increase the already thriving presence of waste to energy plants across the country. Is this the answer to our waste management woes? A consultation of concerned stakeholders seeks to address this question.

The Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, has recently come out with the Draft Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2013 (MSW Rules). These rules would supersede the earlier MSW Rules, 2000 and have huge implications for the way waste is managed in cities across India. It is important to draw attention to the fact that these rules completely lack focus on the lives and livelihoods of millions of workers, both formal and informal, who have been involved in waste management. It also unclear whether they will be able to address the problems of pollution control.

Millions of workers are informally involved in collecting, sorting, recycling and selling waste material that someone else has thrown away by declaring it as garbage. Vital actors in the economy, these workers work hard to reduce carbon emission and save energy spent in handling the waste. They also contribute towards saving public money and provide widespread discernible and indiscernible benefit to our society, municipalities and the environment.

Ironically however, they face harsh working conditions, often  low social status, deplorable living conditions and no support from the government. Despite the fact that waste collectors recycle about 20 percent of the city’s waste saving the municipalities millions of rupees every year, they are not given any recognition in legislation, criminalized by the administration and ignored by society. They work without any direct payment, are not part of the public solid waste management systems, are socially invisible and seldom reported in official statistics.

The 3R (reduce, reuse and recycle) is the most accepted universal recommendation to save the environment. These are the only workers who help our society be on track to follow these recommendations.

Waste picking is responsive to the market for recyclables and is often a family enterprise. While it appears to be chaotic work, it is actually highly organized. In some cities, most waste pickers are migrants and rejected by the global economic processes. This puts them in a more vulnerable condition with no legal entitlements despite the fact that they are “The real, Invisible Environmentalists”.

On one hand, waste pickers or the informal ‘waste managers’ remain invisible to policy makers. On the other hand, the problem of waste management continues to grow. In its 2009-10, Annual Report the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) estimated that approximately 55 million tons of MSW are generated in urban areas of India annually. It is estimated that the amount of waste generated in India will increase at a rate of approximately 1 – 1.33% annually. The problem will thus sustain and grow if adequate measures are not taken.

India is one of the fastest growing economies with 6 to 9% GDP growth per year but despite these achievements and claims of rapid economic development, the disparity between rich and poor is widening, and this can be seen across the country– from large urban areas to small rural ones. According to ILO, despite playing such an important role for the society and environment, waste Pickers also fall under the 77% of the population who earn less than Rs. 20 every day because they are not authorized to collect the waste material from the source i.e.; homes, factorise, offices etc. Due to lack of recognition and authorization, waste pickers suffer from atrocities by Resident Welfare Associations, Policemen, Residents, Municipal Authority etc. With little scope of earning, they are entangled in the web of bribery.
In spite of their significant role in protecting our environment and saving resources for the economy, the government has never noticed them as an important economic sector but merely mentioned their name (Waste Picker) in legislations and reports.

In the new Draft MSW Rules, 2013 (The Gazette of India REGD.NO.D.L-33004/99 http://envfor.nic.in/so1978ehttp://envfor.nic.in/sites/default/files/so-1978-e.pdf  Page no. 26- Point no-9 (k) Management of Municipal Solid waste), Waste pickers have been mentioned as a possible option for collection of waste. Yet, there is no mechanism mentioned for their authorisation and thus hardly any waste picker has been authorized by government agencies. The roles, responsibility, and rights of the Waste Pickers have also not been mentioned in the draft Gazette. Yet the waste pickers have historically been demanding that they be given the right to collect, segregate.  sort, grade and sell off recyclable materials locally. This would lead to much greater environmental preservation than the centralised model being followed by municipalities currently.

This gazette has also promoted a forged and dangerous idea of waste to energy, in spite of knowing that in India it is not viable or sustainable to generate energy from Municipal Solid Waste. This is because of the properties of waste in India compared to developed countries where this is prevalent. A recent study by Ellis Buruss shows that WTE incinerators actually waste more energy than they produce http://www.envisionfrederickcounty.org/wte-incinerator-wastes-energy-generates/). In 2012, an operational energy plant was set up in Okhla, Delhi to produce electricity. However, even more than one and half years on, this plant has not able to produce one single unit of Electricity  but continues to release toxic pollutants. On the other aspects, it is proved that in an area where waste to energy plant would run there is a higher risk of disease likes Cancer and Impotence in Women.

Given the situation, it is of utmost importance that there should be dialogue between stakeholders to obtain different opinions on the Rules. It has been 13 years since the earlier Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000, were framed, and approved by the MoEF. Various changes have taken place since then in the structure and format of waste management, its governance, and economic and financial aspects. However, until date, there has been no systematic review of these changes and the measures that have been taken to manage urban solid waste. It is time to carry out such a review. In order to make the new Rules valuable for society, they must reflect this new learning instead of simply being a slightly amended version of the existing rules.

It is for this reason that several concerned people and organisations have decided to jointly host a dialogue of various stakeholders. The dialogue would help thresh out the issues so that the new Rules may lay the foundation for much more sustainable, inclusive, and holistic waste management system in our cities.

We therefore request you to participate in the dialogue and enrich it with your expert views on the matter

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Assembly of Informal Urban Workers- 10th October 2013

Assembly of Informal Urban Workers- 10th October 2013

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Recently on Terra Urban you read about the manifesto for demands and needs of Urban Poor, presented by Forum of Informal Urban Poor Workers to political parties in Delhi at http://terraurban.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/fiupw-demanding-commitment-for-urban-poor-from-political-parties/

An“ Assembly of Informal Urban Workers” is being organised on 10th October, 2013 at Indian Constitution Club-Delhi. FIUPW manifesto shall be shared and handed over to  different political parties contesting for the upcoming assembly elections, in this democratic assembly.

Below is the tentative design of this Assembly:

10:00 am to 10:30 am Registration
10:30 am to 10:45 am Opening Session

  • Welcome and Overview

Mr. Manoj Rai, Director, PRIA

Address by Chief Guest:

Smt. Girija Vyas*, Honorable Minister, Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Government of India

  • Group Song by the Informal Urban Workers
10:45 am to 01:00 pm Session 1: Presentation of Manifesto

Moderator:

Mr. Rajesh Upadhyah, National Convenor, National Alliance for Labor Rights

Presentation of Manifesto:

Speakers: (10 minutes each)

  • Mr. Subhash Bhatnagar, National Campaign Committee for Central Legislation on Construction Labour
  • Mr. Jawahar Singh, Delhi Jhuggi Jhopri Ekta Manch
  • Mr. H. S Rawat, Delhi Hawkers Welfare Association
  • Mr. Shashi Bhushan Pandit, All India Kabadi Mazdoor Mahasangh
  • Mr. Vighnesh Jha, Federation of Rickshaw Pullers of India

Emerging Issues:  (5 minutes each)

  • Mr. S.A Azad, Nirman Mazdoor Shakti Sangthan
  • Mr. Arvind Singh, Child Rights, Matri Sudha
  • Mr. Abdul Shakeel, Haq
  • Ms. Bibyani Minj, Nirmala Niketan

Open Discussion

01:00 pm to 1:45 pm Lunch Break
1:45 pm  to 3:15 pm Session 2: Sectorial Inputs by Political Parties

Presentation of Final Manifesto:

Ms. Suman Bhanoo, Programme Officer, PRIA, New Delhi

Moderator: Mr. Dharmendra Kumar, Secretary, Janpahal , Delhi

Speakers: (10 -12minutes)

  • Mr. Anand Sahu, Delhi State President, Asangathit Mazdoor Morcha, BJP
  • Prof. Vijender Sharma, Secretariat Member, CPM
  • Mr. Prashant Bhushan, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court, AAP
  • Mr. Dhirendra  Sharma, Secretary, Delhi State, Communist Party of India

Open Discussion

3:15 pm to 3:30 pm Vote of Thanks

Ms. Bhavita Vaishnava, Senior Programme Officer, PRIA

3:30 pm to 4:00 pm High Tea
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People Building Better Cities – Exhibition at Delhi!

People Building Better Cities – Exhibition at Delhi!

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People Building Better Cities: Participation and Inclusive Urbanization – is an exhibition and exchange platform for communities, urban professionals, universities, non-governmental organizations, and policy makers on the challenges of inclusive urbanization and climate change.

In Delhi, the exhibition will be shown in English and Hindi from October 4 – 18, 2013. The English exhibition will open at School of Planning & Architecture (SPA), with a panel discussion themed “Rethinking Urban Informality: Ideas for an Inclusive City”. The Hindi exhibition will be mobile and is being hosted in six different locations across Delhi by members of the Forum of Informal Urban Poor Workers (FIUPW) with community-led local programs at each venue. 

October 4, Friday: EXHIBITION OPENING in English
School of Planning & Architecture

Directions: SPA, New Committee Room, 4-Block-B, Indraprastha Estate, New Delhi 110002 Google Map

9:30-10:00 Doors open
10:00-10:30 Exhibition opening & interactive walkthrough
10:30-11:00 Tea Break
11:00-13:00 Panel Discussion with Q&A
‘People Building Better Cities: Rethinking Urban Informality – Ideas for an Inclusive City’ 
13:00 onwards Lunch and exhibition display

Moderator
Prof. Chetan Vaidya, Director, SPA

Panelists
Prof. Neelima Risbud, Head, Housing, SPA
Prof. Jagan Shah, Director, NIUA (TBC)
Mr. Manoj Rai, Director, PRIA
Mr. Dharmendra Kumar, Secretary, Janpahal (TBC)
Ms. Isabelle-Jasmin Roth, Managing Director, Avantgarde India (TBC)
___________________________________________________________________
TRAVELING EXHIBITION in Hindi
The Hindi exhibition will remain open from 11:00 to 17:00 at the dates and locations provided below

October 7, Monday and 8, Tuesday
Janpahal Shelter for Homeless with Janpahal and India FDI Watch

Directions: Nehru Enclave-Akshardham Flyover, Shakarpur. Nearest metros – Akshardham, Laxmi Nagar and Yamuna Bank
Inquiries: Mr. Dharmendra Kumar, Secretary, Janpahal & Director, India FDI Watch
dkfordignity@yahoo.co.uk , janpahal@gmail.com

October 9, Wednesday and 10, Thursday
Baljeet Nagar with HAQ 
Inquiries: Mr. Abdul Shakeel, Coordinator, HAQ
shakeel4peace@gmail.com, haq.delhi@gmail.com

October 11, Friday and 12, Saturday
Seemapuri with All India Kabadi Mazdoor Mahasangh 

October 14, Monday and 15, Tuesday
Rohini with All India Rickshaw Pullers Association

Oct 17, Thursday, and 18, Friday
B-5 Vasant Kunj with Jhuggi Jhopri Ekta Manch  

__________________________________________________________________

‘COMMUNITY ADDAS’
A series of themed chat sessions at each venue, with local stakeholders and community members will be held between 11:00 – 13:00, on the following dates. Refreshments will be arranged by the hosting community.

October 8, Tuesday 
‘Urban informality and the homeless’

Chair 
Mr. Dharmendra Kumar, Secretary, Janpahal

Key Speakers
Dr. Amod Kumar, Chief Functionary, State appointed Mother NGO for Homeless
Ms. Ambika Pandit, Journalist, TNN (TBC)
Mr. H.S. Rawat, Co-Convener, Hawkers Joint Action Committee

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EXHIBITION PARTNERS
Society for Participatory Research in Asia (PRIA)
National Institute for Urban Affairs
School of Planning & Architecture, Delhi
Janpahal
India FDI Watch
HAQ
All India Kabadi Mazdoor Mahasangh
All India Rickshaw Pullers Association
Jhuggi Jhopri Ekta Manch

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FIUPW Demanding Commitment for Urban Poor from Political Parties

FIUPW Demanding Commitment for Urban Poor from Political Parties

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Identity, Dignity and Social Security for Urban Poor

Rapidly changing scenario of urban area is the matter of concern and attention. There are various issues associated to the urbanization and in India  urban population is expected to hit 600 million by 2030 with urbanization of 40% (in fact in practical terms the urban population would be about 60% if we take into account floating urban population)[1]. As per reports of Planning Commission of India, cities contribute about 63% of country’s GDP. According to 2011 Census, one fifth of the urban populations live in non pukka houses. One third of the urban household (120 million people) in the big cities of India live in single room houses, with 3% having no room to them. Also, 19% of them have no latrine facilities inside their houses[2]. Almost one-third of population of an average city lives in slums and other poor pockets.  It is an irony that voting percentage in slum areas is highest in most of cities but the slum issues remain politically and administrative neglected.

No doubt there are many schemes and services for urban poor, but due to lack of implementation largely because of stiff criteria for selecting beneficiaries these schemes don’t serve their purpose. Urban poor struggle with many issues such as: lack of identity in the eyes of governments, distorted identities in society, lack of employment opportunities, informality of work, inadequate and insecure housing, unhealthy and inhuman environment, lack of social security, limited access to health services, and limited education opportunities.

India is the largest democracy in the world. Like any democracy, political parties in India have greater say in bringing enabling policies and programmes for urban poor. Since elections are approaching in Delhi, FIUPW would like put forth following issues for the consideration of political parties with request to include them in their respective election manifestos.

Forum of Informal Urban Poor Workers (FIUPW) is a coalition of various associations, federations and civil societies at national level. FIUPW is consistently working on the neglected areas of unorganized sectors and informal settlements.  It is one of its own kinds. It’s comprised of 8 NGOs and 18 associations and federations. Delhi Jhuggi Jhopri Ekta Manch, Hawkers Joint Action Committee, National Campaign Commttee for Central Legislation on Construction Labour, Federation of Rickshaw Pullers of India, All India Kabadi Mazdoor Mahasangh and Janpahal are few of them. FIUPW aims at providing basic rights to all neglected sections of Indian society.

Demands for Manifesto

Informal urban workers are valuable citizens of city contributing to city’s growth and its well-being. They have equal rights to access all the resources of cities which other citizen can access.

A.  Basic Minimum Needs

  • Government should proactively and compulsorily provide comprehensive identity card to all informal workers and their families (All inclusive card in support of citizenship of city and rights over services)
  • There should be quantifiable and judiciously justifiable  norms of  employment guarantee, non-employment allowance, pension, monsoon/drought allowance, child care and accidental relief to all informal workers
  • All informal workers and slum dwellers should be provided basic housing facilities with securities of tenure under existing or future schemes of government
  • Under Right to Education there should be special provisions for children of informal urban workers

B.  Proactive Legislative Actions

 All the above should be legislative schedule and kept for periodically review

C.  Institutional Reforms

  • There should be separate budget allocated in the annual plan and budget of the city for informal workers
  • Independent boards and committees comprising representatives of informal sectors and slum dwellers should be constituted for recommending, monitoring and implementing social security measures e.g. there should be a formation of Town Vending Committee (TVC) and Hawkers board and  at every municipal level

Basic Minimum Needs

Provision of Identity Card: Indian citizen’s living in a place and for working in same or other place should get government recognized certificate in support of her/his identity and the address. Informal workers often face constant harassment from local police and municipal authorities due to this identity (card) problem. Poor are not eligible for receiving services if they don’t have relevant identity proof. So, there must be provision of providing identity cards to the informal settlers.  For example domestic workers should be given government ID proof that is recognized all over the country so that they get their benefits when they retire or change the job. Same is applicable to waste collectors, hawkers, construction workers, vendors and other such informal workers. In case of Cycle Rickshaws, they should get consideration as the only eco-friendly mode of public transportation. Similarly, children of urban poor workers have a right to identity in order to avail various services provided by the government of Delhi. Therefore, children of urban poor workers may be provided birth registration certificates.

Livelihood and Social Security: Informal workers and/or slum dwellers are citizens of India and so, have constitutional rights for social and life securities. Thus government must provide them social security in terms of employment opportunities, decent working condition, safety, and security at work places and also at habitation levels. There should be provision for employment guarantee, non-employment allowance, pension, monsoon/drought allowance, child care, and accidental relief to all vulnerable sections.  The traditional livelihood opportunities of these vulnerable sections should be protected against unequal competitions such as  waste collectors should be given exclusive rights for door to door collection at the housing cluster and neighborhood levels (instead of allowing entries of more resourceful private players). Same in the case of hawkers who feel threatened by rapid emergence of corporate chain retailers in Delhi. All hawkers/vendors should be served and registered and be protected from unequal competition by having adequate regulations including of location and reserved goods. Equal pay for equal work for both men and women in order to reduce economic inequality not only among individuals but among different groups. Similarly, the government should ensure proper working conditions for workers, with full enjoyment of leisure, social and cultural activities.

Housing Facilities: As per United Nation’s –The Universal Declaration of Human Rights; everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services. So Housing is the most basic need of every individual and informal workers/slum dwellers are also entailed to avail better housing facilities. All informal workers (for example hawkers) and slum dwellers should be provided basic housing facilities with securities of tenure under the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) and the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). An independent committee should be constituted to monitor the functioning of all homeless shelters. Systematic and accountable efforts must be taken to improve the functioning of temporary shelters to make them habitable, including providing electricity, fans, drinking water, toilets and basic healthcare.

Education: As we all know India joined a group of few countries in the world, with a historic law making education a fundamental right of every child coming into force. Making elementary education an entitlement for children in the 6–14 age group, the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act will directly benefit children who do not go to school at present. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that every child of the age of six to fourteen years shall complete his/her elementary education in a neighborhood school. Special provisions for children of urban poor workers for not admitted to, or who have not completed, elementary education should be made in terms of special training, transfer to other schools in case of displacement from one work place to another, no denial of admission, relaxation in proof of age for admission etc. Privatization of government schools need to check and proper mechanism should be in place to prohibit such process of privatization.

Some Possible Ways to Address the Needs

1.  Proactive Legislative Actions: There should be re-implementation of National Urban Transport Bill-2006. There is a need to constitute central monitoring task force to implement The Street Vendors policy (2009) as directed by the Honorable Supreme Court of India on 9th Sept. A central legislation that makes it mandatory for state and local governments to guarantee livelihood and social security, space and welfare services to waste collectors, hawkers, rickshaw pullers and other informal sectors should be immediately enacted. Government should constitute unorganised worker’s policies and there should be provision of unorganised labour specific law. Besides that Unorganised Workers Social Security Act- 2008 needs a push. Retail giants should be required to recognize unions and bargain collectively and separate National Wage board should be established for workers in the retail trade services.

2. Institutional Reform:  There should be separate budget allotment for urban poor; it should be 70% of annual budget. Independent boards comprising representatives of informal sectors and slum dwellers should be constituted to ensure timely enactment and implementation of appropriate policies’ and programmes for urban poor. For example; there should be a formation of Town Vending Committee (TVC) at every municipal corporation level, which should include 40% elected representatives of street vendors out of which 30% should be women. Elected representatives of street vendors belonging to Widow, Handicap, SC, ST, OBC and Minority community should be given priority to represent street vendors in town and other vending committees.  A special Hawkers Board should be constituted to provide social security schemes to hawkers. Natural, traditional, weekly, neighborhood markets should be promoted and protected through adequate policy initiatives. The areas of licensing, urban planning competition, procurement, local control and respect for the environment are all critical concerns and should be taken into consideration while allowing large chain retailers in Delhi and in  case of domestic workers a Tripartite Board should be the instrument for implementation of the Act. The composition of the Board and its lower formations must be tripartite in nature and give the pride of place to workers through their elected representatives with proportionate representation for women workers. The Board should undertake:

  •  Registration of workers and their social security contributions
  •  Regulation of conditions of work
  • Social protection
  • Registration of employers and collection of their contribution for social   security

[1] UN-Habitat and WHO, 2010.Hidden Cities: Unmasking and Overcoming Health Inequities in Urban Settings.

[2] Ghosh, J and Chandrasekhar, C.P. 2013. The Changing Face of Urban Poverty in The Hindu, Business Line, Online Edition, Available online at: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/columns/c-p-chandrasekhar/the-changing-face-of-urban-poverty/article4379020.ece

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National  Green Assembly on “ Waste Legislation and Waste Pickers” by AIKMM

National Green Assembly on “ Waste Legislation and Waste Pickers” by AIKMM

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The Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, has recently come out with the Draft Municipal Solid Waste Management Rules, 2013 (MSW Rules). These rules would supersede the earlier MSW Rules, 2000 and have huge implications for the way waste is managed in cities across India. It is important to draw the attention that these rules completely lack to focus on the lives and livelihoods of millions of workers, both formal and informal, who have been involved in waste management. As per the claim it is also have lack of potential to address the problem of pollution control.

Millions of workers involve in work for waste collecting, sorting, recycling and selling material that someone else has thrown away by declaring it as garbage. Vital actors in the informal economy, these workers work hard for reducing carbon emission and save energy in handling the waste contribute to save the revenue and provide widespread discernible and indiscernible benefit to our society, municipalities and the environment. However, they face irony harsh working conditions, often low social status, deplorable living  condition and without  support from the government. Despite the fact that waste collectors recycle about 20 percent of the city’s waste saving the municipalities millions of rupees every year, they are unrecognized in legislation, criminalized by the administration and ignored by society. Instead of their role these workers which are named Waste pickers working for environment without any direct payment are not part of the public solid waste management systems and are socially invisible and seldom reported in official statistics.

The 3R (reduce, reuse and recycle) is most accepted universal recommendation to save the environment,  only followed by these workers. Waste picking is also responsive to the market driven conditions for recyclables and most often it is a family enterprise. It may appear to be a chaotic work but is absolutely organized. In some cities, most waste pickers are migrants and rejected from the global economic processes. This puts them in a more vulnerable condition with no legal entitlements despite the fact that they are “The real, Invisible Environmentalist”. In its 2009-10, Annual Report the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) estimated that approximately 55 million tons of MSW are generated in urban areas of India annually. It is estimated that the amount of waste generated in India will increase at a rate of approximately 1 – 1.33% annually , indicates that this problem will sustain if adequate measures will not taken.

India is one of the fastest growing economies of 6 to 9% GDP growth per year but despite these achievements and claims that economic development is happening, the disparity between rich and poor is widening, and this can be seen across the country– from large urban areas to small rural ones. According to ILO, despite of playing such an important role for the society and environment waste Pickers also fall under the 77% of the population who earn less than a dollar every day cause they are not authorized to collect the waste material from the source i.e.; home, factory, offices etc. Due to lack of recognitions and authorization, the waste pickers always suffered from atrocities by the Resident Welfare Associations, Policemen, Colony people, Municipal Authority etc. With little scope of earning, they are entangled in the web of bribery.
In spite of their vital role than any other government and nongovernmental agency involve protecting the environment , the government has never noticed them as an important informal sector but always taken their Name (Waste Picker) in the legislation.

In the new Draft The Gazette of India REGD.NO.D.L-33004/99 http://envfor.nic.in/so1978ehttp://envfor.nic.in/sites/default/files/so-1978-e.pdf  Page no. 26- Point no-9 (k) Management of Municipal Solid waste, they talked very little about the authorized waster Picker but very reluctant to recognize them, yet there is no such mechanism for authorizing it and thus  not a single waste Picker has been authorized by the government agencies. Even this Gazette has not authorized them. The roles, responsibility, and rights of the waste Picker has also not been mentioned in the draft Gazette. Yet the waste pickers have historically   demanding for the rights of collection & segregation of the waste material at the source level , which is only way to segregate the waste and can get potential to handle according to  the appropriate category .

This gazette also brought a forged and dangerous idea of waste to energy, in spite of knowing that in India it is not possible to generate Energy from the Waste, due to the properties of waste comparatively to the countries practicing this process. In 2012, an operational energy plant was set up in Delhi to produce electricity but more than one and half year this plant not able to produce one single unit of Electricity except to release toxic pollutants. On the other aspects, it is proved that in an area where waste to energy plant would run, as warned by concerned scientists there is a higher risk of disease likes Cancer and Impotence in Women.

Given the situation, it is of utmost importance that there should be dialogue between stakeholders to obtain different opinions on the Rules. It has been 13 years since the earlier Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000, were framed, and approved by the MoEF. Various changes have taken place since then in the structure and format of waste management, its governance, and economic and financial aspects. However, until date, there has been no systematic review of these changes and the measures that have been taken to manage urban solid waste. It is time to carry out such a review. In order to make the new Rules valuable for society must reflect this new learning instead of simply being a slightly amended version of the existing rules. Even declared unsuccessful the policy of privatization by their promulgators the draft concludes, the private sector has the best proficient to handle the concerned responsibility. This is escape from the responsibilities as a results make the problem complicated to handle in future.

It is for this reason that All India Kabadi Mazdoor Mahasangh (AIKMM) has decided to host a dialogue of various stakeholders to thresh out the issues so that the new Rules may lay the foundation for much more sustainable, inclusive, and holistic waste management rather than the present inefficient draft.

Schedule of the Programme:

Date: 24 october

Time: 10 AM

Place: Constitution Club,Marg, New Delhi.

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Pension Scheme for Unorganized Sector

Pension Scheme for Unorganized Sector

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On 9th September, 2013 pension scheme for un-organised and informal sector workers was cleared by Delhi government.

A meeting of Delhi Cabinet, presided by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, cleared the proposal to launch Dilli Swavalamban Yojana.

The pension scheme would be open to all workers in the age group of 18-60 years. Each of the workers will have to contribute Rs 1,000 per annum and an equal amount would be given by the city government.

At the age of 60 years, a worker can withdraw 60 per cent of the total amount from his account and balance 40 per cent would remain in his account for which the beneficiary will be given pension.
Any worker will have the option of exiting the scheme before attaining the age of 60 years. In case of the death of the beneficiary, the entire corpus amount will be given to his nominee.
To avail the benefit of the scheme, a worker will have to be a resident of Delhi for at least three years at the time of enrollment in Dilli Swavalamban Yojana.
Ms. Dikshit said all those working in unorganised and informal sectors such as hawkers, artisans, construction workers, leather workers, domestic workers, cobblers, rickshaw pullers, anganwadi workers, anganwadi helper, auto drivers and taxi drivers will be able to benefit from the scheme.

Source: http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-09-09/news/41903508_1_pension-scheme-delhi-cabinet-ownership-rights

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Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2012 passed by Lok Sabha

Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2012 passed by Lok Sabha

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Lok Sabha on 6 September 2013 passed the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2012 . The Bill provides for protection of livelihoods rights, social security of street vendors, regulation of urban street vending in the country and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. The Provisions of the Bill are aimed at creating a conducive atmosphere where street vendors, are able to carry out their business in a fair and transparent manner, without the fear of harassment and eviction.

Main features of the Street Vendors (Protection of Livelihood and Regulation of Street Vending) Bill, 2012 are as follows:

(i)           The Bill provides for constitution of a Town Vending Authority in each Local Authority, which is the fulcrum of the Bill, for implementing the provisions of the Bill.

(ii)         In order to ensure participatory decision making for aspects relating to street vending activities like determination of natural market, identification of vending zones, preparation of street vending plan, survey of street vendors etc. the TVC is required to have representation of officials and non-officials and street vendors, including women vendors with due representation from SC, ST, OBC, Minorities and persons with disabilities. It has been provided that 40% members of the TVC will be from amongst street vendors to be selected through election, of which one-third shall be women.

(iii)       To avoid arbitrariness of authorities, the Bill provides for a survey of all existing street vendors, and subsequent survey at-least once in every five years, and issue of certificate of vending to all the street vendors identified in the survey, with preference to SC, ST, OBC, women, persons with disabilities, minorities etc.

(iv)       All existing street vendors, identified in the survey, will be accommodated in the vending zones subject to a norm conforming to 2.5% of the population of the ward or zone or town or city.

(v)         Where the number of street vendors identified are more than the holding capacity of the vending zone, the Town Vending Committee (TVC) is required to carry out a draw of lots for issuing the certificate of vending for that vending zone and the remaining persons will be accommodated in any adjoining vending zone to avoid relocation.

(vi)       Those street vendors who have been issued a certificate of vending/license etc. before the commencement of this Act, they will be deemed to be a street vendor for that category and for the period for which he/she has been issued such certificate of vending/license.

(vii)     It has been provided that no street vendor will be evicted until the survey has been completed and certificate of vending issued to the street vendors.

(viii)   It has also been provided that in case a street vendor, to whom a certificate of vending is issued, dies or suffers from any permanent disability or is ill, one of his family member i.e. spouse or dependent child can vend in his place, till the validity of the certificate of vending.

(ix)       Thus the mechanism is to provide universal coverage, by protecting the street vendors from harassment and promoting their livelihoods.

(x)         Procedure for relocation, eviction and confiscation of goods has been specified and made street vendor friendly. It is proposed to provide for recommendation of the TVC, as a necessary condition for relocation being carried out by the local authority.

(xi)       Relocation of street vendors should be exercised as a last resort. Accordingly, a set of principles to be followed for ‘relocation’ is proposed to be provided for in the second Schedule of the Bill, which states that (i) relocation should be avoided as far as possible, unless there is clear and urgent need for the land in question; (ii) affected vendors or their representatives shall be involved in planning and implementation of the rehabilitation project; (iii) affected vendors shall be relocated so as to improve their livelihoods and standards of living or at least to restore them, in real terms to pre-evicted levels (iv) natural markets where street vendors have conducted business for over fifty years shall be declared as heritage markets, and the street vendors in such markets shall not be relocated.

(xii)     The Local authority is required to make out a plan once in every 5 years, on the recommendation of TVC, to promote a supportive environment and adequate space for urban street vendors to carry out their vocation. It specifically provides that declaration of no-vending zone shall be carried subject to the specified principles namely; any existing natural market, or an existing market as identified under the survey shall not be declared as a no-vending zone; declaration of no-vending zone shall be done in a manner which displaces the minimum percentage of street vendors; no zone will be declared as a no-vending zone till such time as the survey has not been carried out and the plan for street vending has not been formulated. Thus the Bill provides for enough safeguards to protect street vendors interests.

(xiii)   The thrust of the Bill is on “natural market”, which has been defined under the Bill. The entire planning exercise has to ensure that the provision of space or area for street vending is reasonable and consistent with existing natural markets.Thus, natural locations where there is a constant congregation of buyers and sellers will be protected under the Bill.

(xiv)   There is a provision for establishment of an independent dispute redressal mechanism under the chairmanship of retired judicial officers to maintain impartiality towards grievance redressal of street vendors.

(xv)     The Bill provides for time period for release of seized goods, for both perishable and non-perishable goods. In case of non-perishable goods, the local authority is required to release the goods within two working days and incase of perishable goods, the goods shall be released the same day, of the claim being made.

(xvi)   The Bill also provides for promotional measures to be undertaken by the Government, towards availability of credit, insurance and other welfare schemes of social security, capacity building programmes, research, education and training programme etc. for street vendors.

(xvii) Section 29 of the Bill provides for protection of street vendors from harassment by police and other authorities and provides for an overriding clause to ensure they carry on their business without the fear of harassment by the authorities under any other law.

(xviii)     The Bill specifically provides that the Rules under the Bill have to be notified within one year of its commencement, and Scheme has to be notified within six months of its commencement to prevent delay in implementation.

 Sources: Press Information Bureau, Government of India

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