A new “reliable statistical model” to enumerate people living in urban slums indicates that their population will be 93.06 million in the 2011 census, as against 75.26 million estimated in the 2001 census. This shows a growth of 17.8 million.

Incidentally, as per the new model, the number in urban slums is 75.26 million, against the figure of 52.4 million according to the methodology followed by the Registrar-General of India (RGI) in the 2001 census. It is a jump from 23.50 to 26.31 per cent.

Sen report

The new statistical model is based on the report of the committee headed by Pranob Sen, Principal Advisor to the Planning Commission, set up in 2008. The report was presented to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation on August 30.

The committee gave a broader definition of slums to replace the existing one used by Census of India and the States. From now on, any compact housing cluster or settlement of at least 20 households with a collection of poorly built tenements, mostly temporary in nature with inadequate sanitary, drinking water facilities and unhygienic conditions will be termed slums.

This new definition will serve as a guideline for Slum Census 2011. So far, while various States have had their own definitions to identify a slum, the RGI office that conducts census identified only a cluster of 60 houses as slums, leaving out smaller ones.

“Even non-notified slums are often kept out of the purview of the census because the States only acknowledge notified slums,” Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister Kumari Selja said while releasing the guidelines here on Friday. The new definition would help in better implementation and wider coverage under the Rajiv Awas Yojana for slum-dwellers, she said.

Adopt normative definition

The committee suggested that a normative definition be adopted “based on appropriate indicators and checklists for the purpose of identification of slum areas and enumeration of the population of an area with 20-25 households having slum-like characteristics in an enumeration block in census 2011,” Ms Selja said.

The committee applied its statistical model in all 5,161 urban areas of the country, including 3,799 statutory towns. It has recommended that the RGI share with the Ministry the layout maps when they are released, for use in planning and as an aid to slum surveys.

“The Ministry would work closely with the RGI to carry out the ground verification of slum clusters within the identified enumeration blocks to finalise the master frame of slums,” Ms. Selja said.