Urban poor in India - Daily Current Affair Article

Why in News?

The urban poverty situation in India is becoming more vulnerable due to the ever-increasing cases of Corona.


  • Urban poverty in India is unique and it is effective according to a particular pattern. Although the proportion of urban poor has declined over the last decades, there is a steady increase in the number which has a direct impact on the slum areas of the metros.
  • Issues related to urban poverty, such as migration, labor, gender roles, access to basic services, and the slums of India are horrific conditions that were very negatively affected in the Corona period. Once again, the increasing number of Corona cases has reinforced the condition of this urban poor.

Situation of Urban poverty

  • In India, "Gareebi Hatao" was made a major objective of the Fifth Five Year Plan (1974-79) when the urban poor got an identity. According to the report of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (2001), about 23.5% of the urban households living in slums.
  • Although the percentage of slum dwellers had declined to 17% by 2011, the total number of slum households had increased from 10 million in 2001 to 13 million in 2011. The majority of urban poverty occurs in megacities.

Causes of urban poverty

Increasing migration

  • Large-scale migration occurs in India due to the decrease in the availability of opportunities in the rural sector and the continuously decreasing benefits of agriculture. People suffering from lack of opportunity and feudalism in rural areas go to live in cities in large quantities which increases the number of urban poor.

Loss of income

  • Due to lack of basic requirements of skills, education, health in rural areas of India, a person migrating from a rural area does not get a proper salary in cities. Due to which they are forced to work in the unorganized economy and are exploited by the capitalists. This does not increase their income and increases the number of urban poor.


  • Congestion is another major factor in slum areas. Each slum normally has just one bathroom for 50 to 100 people, and lack of awareness of personal hygiene practices makes families vulnerable to illnesses and infections. Due to which a significant part of their income is spent on health-related things.

Affordable Housing Shortage

  • The congestion in slum areas increases continuously due to a reduction in affordable housing. This further leads to a lack of facilities like light, water, and sanitation.

COVID-19 and Urban Poor:

  • The Indian city was affected the most due to epidemic-induced disruptions during COVID-19. The impact of Corona resulted in a lockdown, social discrimination, closure of markets, factories, and allied activities, reducing the work opportunities for these sections of the urban population, bringing a livelihood crisis to the urban poor.
  • This year the trend of urban unemployment, which was already under stress, has increased due to increasing apprehension of the epidemic.

How can urban poverty be reduced?

There are mainly 2 dimensions to this question.

  1. Improvement of life in rural areas
  2. Better urban planning and slum rehabilitation

Improvement of life in rural areas

  • To control large-scale migration from rural to urban areas, the current state of rural infrastructure (or lack thereof) must be addressed. It is also important that slum dwellers be given access to any kind of loans and resources and help them to promote investment in rural areas.
  • India needs to intensify efforts to promote small and medium scale industries in rural areas as well as other income-generating opportunities.
  • To improve agriculture in India. However, the government is making efforts in this direction.

Better Urban Planning and Slum Rehabilitation

  • After privatization, the design of cities of India is constantly changing, but the presence of slums is a big question mark on urban planning.
  • It is true that successful urbanization takes time, but life in slum settlements will improve only when the living conditions of its residents are improved or improved at the basic level. That is why our important program in India includes the rehabilitation and upgrading of slums.
  • Through rehabilitation, we ensure that these families get clean water, electricity, better employment (through skill training), and the right to live in their homes.
  • Along with this, it is necessary to control the virtual price rise of the real state by controlling corruption. So that affordable housing can be available.

The conclusion

  • Unplanned urbanization has further accentuated the situation of urban poverty arising due to capitalism, feudalism, and casteism on the one hand. At the same time, the corona epidemic has increased the deprivation of this class.
  • The biggest challenge to overcome is to provide food, education, housing, and employment to a large number of nurturing, semi-literate, semi-skilled, less unemployed, and vulnerable city dwellers who are living on footpaths, unhygienic slums, and inadequate lives. This is a challenging but important task that is extremely important to be done.
General Studies Paper 1
  • Indian Society
  • Population and allied issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems, and their safeguards.

Mains Question:-

  • The situation of Urban poor which generate due to capitalism, feudalism, and casteism, becomes more vulnerable because of Unplanned urbanization. In the current epidemic, this class has emerged as the most depressed group. Discuss the statement regarding the status of the urban poor in India?