IntroductionThe essay elucidateson the slum upgrading scheme, SlumNetworking Programme or ‘Parivartan(Transformation) Project’ or ‘PanditDindayal Upadhyay Yojana’, commenced in September 1995, by the plannerHimanshu H. Parikh in response to the mass number of deaths in Surat city ofGujarat in 1994 due to plague which was considered to occur due to the poorliving conditions of the slums along with underdeveloped solid waste managementsystem. This ebbed the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) to prioritize Slumimprovement for enhancing the condition of the city and the health of itsresidents both inside and outside of the slums. The SNP was orchestrated withtwo main aims, namely; physical upgradationof the living conditions of the slum residents and the development of the community for long-term benefits (Sato, Y. 2000).The Networkingprogramme was a unique program which directly included its recipients in theprogram, as stakeholders rather than mere beneficiaries. This cohesive approachwas run by multiple partners each one involved with independent functions oftheir own, which will be discussed further in the essay. The essay will firstbriefly acquaint the city of Ahmedabad, followed by illustrating in detail, theprocedure forged by the networking programme.
Secondly, the discussion deliberateson the partners involved and their individual responsibilities in the program. Next,the piece highlights on the unique facet of the SNP to include its members aspartners. The study then deliberates on the financial roles taken up by thepartners. In the last section, a brief demographics of the respondents isexplained followed by concluding with an evaluation of the Slum NetworkingProgramme. AhmedabadAhmedabad city isthe 7th largest city of India and one of the metropolitan areas ofIndia.
Being one of the fastest growing cities in India, with a population ofabout 4 million, 20% of the populace live in slums by virtue of continuousmigration to the city for expected income. Majority of slum residents have: · Little or noaccess to basic services;· Lack ofinfrastructure for water supply, drainage, toilets and solid waste managementsystem;· Lack ofmaintenance of provided services due to no ownership of the land;· Lack ofawareness of hygiene and health;· Threat ofeviction; and · Lack ofrevenue for services provided by AMC, waste collection for instance. (Chaturvedula, S. and Sadhukhan,B. 2012) TheProgrammeThe Slum Networkingprogramme envisaged an atypical fashion of slum upgradation in that it focussedon the community development and comprehensive improvement of basicinfrastructure rather than solely advancing the housing quality. Although,provision of individual water supply,as well as toilets, was a part of the scheme as it would enable maintenanceinstead of a public utility which maynot be retained.
The elemental facilities of infrastructure provided by the AMCincluded (UNDP-World Bank, 2007): · Roads andPaving· Water supplyto individual households · Undergroundsewerage linkage for individual households · Storm waterdrainage facility· Streetlighting· Solid wastemanagement system · LandscapingMoreover, the AMCalso granted a written contract through which the slum dwellers would not beevicted for 10 years if they choose to participate in the programme. Thiscontribution was the pivotal factor which enumerated in the success of the SNP.The project did not merely focus on the physical aspects but also catered tothe non-physical facilities by providing continuing community developmentprograms initiated by different NGOs for upgrading the quality of the communityto eventually integrate them in the social mainstream along with the physicalassimilation. Development of the community emphasized on setting up of youthgroups, women’s groups, educational activities for pre-primary age children andilliterate adults. Furthermore, it also included programs for awareness ofcommunity health, education, mother and child care, supporting income-generatedactivities and developing linkages with the finance sector to access financefor small business and trade (Dutta, S. 2000).ThePartnersThe Parivartan programme,being a distinctive project as mentioned earlier, involved multiple bodies withtheir individual functions in the successful running of the networkingprogramme. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation was the anchor that conceivedthe project and held together distinct partners coordinating them together toperform their respective roles.
The main stakeholders of the Slum NetworkingProgramme include the AMC (Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation), the slumcommunity, Arvind Mills (a leading private textile company in Ahmedabad) whichset up a trust called Strategic Help Alliance for Relief of Distressed Areas(SHARDA) in 1995 for SNP, NGOs like SAATH and MHT (Mahila Housing Trust) andthe SEWA Bank (Dutta, S. 2000). The role of each member is described asbelow: Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC): AMC was the host agency of theSNP responsible for most of the duties to be carried out for the Networkingprogramme. Being the local government, it was responsible for the highestcontribution of finances in all the facilities provided. The AMC was theleading coordinator and enabler of all the partners.
Leading the set up of theproject within city-wide plans was a duty of the government, to incorporate andintegrate the slum in the main city physically by providing linkages with waterand sewage treatment. The physicalupgradation of the basic infrastructure of the slum areas to improve the livingconditions, like providing household level facilities like piped water,toilets, connection with the main city water supply is another primary role ofthe AMC. Moreover, the NGOs that participated in the SNP were paid by the AMCto mobilize the slum dwellers in joining the SNP. The crucialcommitment of the AMC was to provide a written assurance to all the slumdwellers of eliminating relocation, a land tenure security of at least 10 yearswhich would expel the fear of eviction from the slum dwellers and act as anincentive for them to participate and contribute in the project as astakeholder. NGOs:The NGOs played an essentialpart in the Slum Networking Programme of mobilizing and encouraging the slumresidents to participate voluntarily in the programme.
The NGOs were the directlink that provided an interface between the community and the AMC which made adialogue between the two entities possible. The communities were strengthenedto contribute their share by convincing them of the benefits of the SNP and thelong-term advantages. The contribution of the funds from the community dwellerswas to be collected by the NGOs by the formation of a Residents’ Associationthat pooled in savings from the beneficiaries i.e. the dwellers as their sharein the project.
The NGO members of the SNP were (Das, A. and Takahashi, L.2009):SHARDA Trust: A trust launched by Arvind Mills, a leadingtextile company in Ahmedabad which actively contributed in the SNP andestablished the Strategic Help Alliance for Relief of Distressed Areas (SHARDA)in 1995 as its contribution towards the project. Although it could not functionas an encourager, the company managed to contribute financially to the project.SAATH: SAATH is an Ahmedabad based NGO that works withslum areas concentrating on youth and social awareness since 1989. SAATH playedthe role of an intermediary between the slum residents and other partners toexchange dialogues with the partners.
It also lent backing for the creation ofa Community Based Organisation (CBO) in Sanjaynagar, one of the slums upgradedby the SNP, which now operates independently towards the maintenance of theslum areas. Moreover, this NGO aims to disseminate the urban governanceinformation to the communities with a goal of linking them to the city (UNDP- World Bank, 2007).Mahila Housing Trust(MHT): The MHT is yetanother Ahmedabad based NGO which was set up in 1994 to acknowledge the demandof the poor and self-employed women in Ahmedabad especially for servicesregarding housing. It now works vigorously with the AMC for the Parivartanprogramme. Correspondingly, the MHT also aids in boosting the communityresidents to join the SNP and contribute their share of funds.
MHT insimilarity to SAATH acts as an intermediary between the dwellers and otherpartners, but in contrast to other NGOs, it especially accentuates on the roleof women in the decision-making process during the networking project. Self Employed Women’sAssociation (SEWA) Bank: Thefinancial mediator of the Slum Networking Project was the SEWA bank, a bank ofand for the self-employed women. The primary part of the bank was to collect thecontribution from the community members and deposit in their individual bankaccounts. Furthermore, the bank also provided loans at low rate of interest tobeneficiaries who could not afford to contribute to the project but werewilling to participate.
The unique attribute of this Bank was that it onlyprovided loans to women (Baruah, B. 2007)Community: Thecrux of the Slum Networking Programme were the community members who are theprincipal partners in the transformation project. The community is subject toestablish an association which concludes on the demands that are required inthe upgradation of the slum areas, which are then presented to the AMC foracceptance. The dwellers in the SNP are not mute spectators of the upgradationbut have an equal say in the implementation and planning process of the entireproject.
CommunityParticipationThe private-publicpartnership is not uncommon in slum upgrading schemes in India, Indore andBaroda, for instance, underwent the SNP without the community participation.Himanshu Parikh, a Cambridge-trained structural engineer and the planner of SNPAhmedabad learned from the experiences from the above-mentioned cities thatcommunity participation is vital for any upgradation to succeed. “Networkingcannot succeed unless community participation is total – unless the communityfeels that it has a stake in it – and this cannot happen if the project is thatof the public agencies alone Several studies have indicated that this kind ofstake can be created by making the slum dwellers invest in upgrading theirphysical infrastructure.” (Tripathi, D.1998).
The resident groupsor CBOs that were created by the NGOs played the role of spurring communitymembers to willingly contribute and participate in the SNP. The CBOs andresidents were diligently involved in the implementation and postimplementation of the project with their say in resolving any dissonanceregarding proposed demolition, site surveying or infrastructure building and maintainingthe services. This active participation raised the self-esteem of the slumdwellers allowing them to feel a sense of ownership of their land which would,in turn, produce a willingness to maintain the provided services in the future.A monetary participation was also necessary for the dwellers to feel a sense ofpossessiveness towards their belongings. This was the unique aspect of the SNPof involving the slum residents as equal partners in the project. “Animportant aspect of the project is the active participation, including amonetary contribution, from the residents of such areas. Thus, the householdsin the community, share one-third of the cost that the Ahmedabad MunicipalCorporation and SHARDA Trust will incur in upgrading the infrastructurefacilities” (Ahmedabad MunicipalCorporation. n/d.
). Hence, a noticeablepresence of the community during the implementation stage is visible as opposedto before implementation wherein the role of CBOs is restricted to motivatingthe households to make contributions. Communities cannot choose services asthey desire, however they have a chance of negotiating with the support ofNGOs. (Baruah, B. 2007). CostDistributionThe SNP as discussed did not treat the dwellers as mere beneficiaries, ajustifiable amount was collected from each household which ultimately promoted’ownership’. The total budget of the Slum Networking Programme was to be distributedamongst the AMC, SHARDA Trust of Arvind mills and the Slum dwellers.
Thedistribution of cost per household for the project includes (Sato, Y. 2000):· Physical environment cost:Rs. 6,000 per household Contributions: Rs. 2,000 per slum household Rs. 2,000industry sponsors i.e. SHARDA Trust of Arvind Mills Rs. 2,000 to beborne by the AMC · Community Development cost:Rs.
1,000 per householdContributions: Rs. 300 other organizations i.e. SAATH Rs. 700 to be borne by theAMC · Linkage with basic cityinfrastructure cost: Rs. 3,000 per household: Contributions: Rs 3,000 to be borne by the AMC· Infrastructure maintenance fee:Rs. 100 per household Contributions: Rs.
100 per slum householdThe AMC bears 70% of the total costs whilst eachhousehold contributes Rs. 2,100 to participate in the project. The AMC isresponsible for the major costs as it deals with linking the slum areas to thecitywide supply of infrastructures like water supply, drainage, and electricityetc. This cost is also supplied by International and National agencies throughthe AMC for fulfilling this project. These organizations include United NationsDevelopment Programme (UNDP) and World Bank Regional Water and Sanitation Groupfor South Asia (RWSG-SA) who aided in the design of concept of the SNP andprovided financial support.
Moreover, financial support was also credited byHousing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) to the AMC and SEWA Bank (Sato, Y. 2000). The SEWA Bank, a sister organization formed byand for self-employed women operating under the Reserve Bank of India wasassociated with directly helping the slum dwellers in providing loans toparticipate in the Slum Networking Programme. This help was provided when itwas observed that not every household could afford to take part in theprogramme by contributing due to low income, which eventually made them borrowmoney from relatives or money lenders who lent money for a very high rate of interestconsequently making the household members indebted for the future. The SEWABank with its banking expertise was offered to be a financial mediator toprovide banking services to the SNP by providing savings mobilization, accountoperations of individual households, management of payments, and finallyproviding loans to households that could not afford to pay the required amountby themselves. The bank would offer loan to any user to cover the amount of Rs.2,100 and reimburse it through instalments, by simply opening a bank account.
The woman of the household is only allowed to open an account in the bank,however, she can include a male member, although the decision-making power lieswith the woman. The SEWA bank focussed on the poor section of the society whichincluded illiterate population, therefore the procedure of opening an accountwas made to be as simple as possible, only by providing a thumb impression or asignature if possible. Also, a small amount of Rs.
100 had to be deposited toopen an account and to continue the account, the same amount had to bemaintained as a minimum balance (UNDP-WorldBank, 2007) The repayment of these loans was Rs 100 per month or as a lumpsum. The SNP aimed at making maximum efforts for constructing a programme and aprocedure that was easy for the slum dwellers to adapt to and look forward to participatingin the programme. The NGO worked their best to encourage the dwellers to takeup loans and utilize the services provided by the AMC. Attributesof RespondentsMost of the sample households are Hindus withvery few Christians. The ages ranges between the 20s and 60s in each area,concentrated between 30s and 40s.
The literacy rate is low in most of the slumswhich is supposedly linked with their occupational status as well. The vaghris,a caste in India which is predominant in most of the slums in India, is anoutcast which is mainly involved in the informal sector and does not make muchof education. The earning income in slums involved the respondents to beengaged mainly in the informal sector due to their low eligibility of gettingenrolled in the formal sector. Females were self-employed in home-basedenterprises and the male members being entrepreneurs in other activities likestreet vending, vegetable sellers, hawking, etc. This informality of theoccupation is exhibited in their income. The income range is as low as Rs 2,000to 2,500 per month, which enabled most of them to take up loans from the SEWAbank, as most of their income goes to their day to day survival restrictingthem to invest in any other activity for development. This makes the poor stayin the same state with no hope of upward mobility in the future or of shiftingto the formal sector. Evaluationof SNP A continual awareness generation by the NGOs regardinghealth and hygiene promoted to improve the quality of life of the residentsfocussing on maternal health and child care, along with the prevalent diseasesin the slums due to poor living conditions causing harmful diseases likeMalaria and the project meet this criterion successfully as there has been amarked improvement in the health of dwellers (Dutta, S.
2000). Moreover, community involvement being given apriority throughout the stages of the program gave birth to the formation ofcommunity groups, women’s groups, youth groups who in turn became responsibleto maintain the services provided instead of solely relying on the governmentto look after them. The SNP aimed to incorporate the voices of the householdmembers of the slums during the process of policy-making, which worked verywell as there was a cohesion among the partners with the same aim, giving thedwellers a sense of acceptance by the authorities. This makes the SNP distinctfrom all the other programs of slum upgradation because it does not emphasizesolely on the physical upgradation, but also generates a living condition forthe future and builds the capacity of the slum dwellers to sustain themselves. However, as the Slum Networking Programme startedwith the goal of including income-generating activities, these activities werenever implemented. Although, the factor that female residents were now accessibleto a micro-credit system by the SEWA Bank made it effortless for the residentsto solve their financial burden. The female residents were now empowered andcould take up credit for improving their income.
The partnership of the NGOs made it possible forthe project to solve the main challenge of encouraging the slum households to contributetheir share for basic services provided by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation.Most of the slums are provided with free services from many agencies and someeven manage to take up services illegally from sources, like water supply anddo not wish to pay for these services. The NGOs boosted the slum members by a rangeof awareness programs and successfully generated an interest in the minds ofresidents regarding the networking programme. Another reason for success, whichI believe is the most important one is the provision of land tenure by thegovernment, acting as the biggest incentive for the slum dwellers, as a senseof ownership creates a willingness to maintain and further develop thepossession. This security enabled the dwellers to pay their one-thirdcontribution to the government. The Slum Networking Programme also proves thatphysical upgradation is not sufficient for upgrading the slums, it requires arange of softer interventions which makes a difference in the attitudes of thedwellers resulting in the long-term upgrading of the quality of slums by makingthe people more responsive. The aspect that some services are provided forindividual households like toilets and sanitation services marks yet anotherdistinction of this programme. It can be conferred that the Slum NetworkingProgramme can be successfully adapted to promote change from physicallydegraded and unhealthy living conditions to a place of self-empowered residentswith the provision of basic services and better living conditions (Chaturvedula, S.
and Sadhukhan, B. 2012).DemographicsThe Parivartan programme has been introduced in41 slums from which 32 slums have already finished upgradation and the work isongoing in the rest of the slums (Chaturvedula,S. and Sadhukhan, B. 2012). Many slums voluntarily come up to take part inthe networking programme and request for better services.
The AMC plans tointroduce this programme throughout the city among 120 slums. Various othercities have replicated this programme, as the concept is easily replicablethrough the cooperation of corporation and the community. References· Chaturvedula,S. and Sadhukhan, B. (2012).
ACCESSanitation, CASE STUDY, Ahmedabad MunicipalCorporation (AMC), Ahmedabad, Gujarat· Das, A. and Takahashi, L. (2009).
EvolvingInstitutional Arrangements, Scaling Up, and Sustainability. Journalof Planning, Education, and Research, 29(2), pp.213-232.· Sato,Y. (2000). The Political Economy of Community Participation: Evidence fromthe Slum Networking Project in Ahmedabad, India. Annals of Regional andCommunity Studies, 12, pp.
159-182.· Dutta, S. (2000).
Partnershipsin urban development: a review of Ahmedabad’s experience. Environment & Urbanization Vol 12 No 1 April 2000.· Baruah, B. 2007. Assessment of public-private-NGO partnerships: Water and sanitationservices in slums. Natural ResourcesForum, 31 (3): 226-37.
· Tripathi,D. 1998. Alliance for change: A slumupgrading experiment in Ahmedabad.New Delhi: Tata McGraw-Hill.· Davis,J. 2004, Scaling up urban upgrading:Where are the bottlenecks? Liverpool University Press Online. · Waterand Sanitation programme, 2007, Taking water and sanitation to the Urban Poor· UNDP-WorldBank, 2007, Water and SanitationProgram- South Asia: Media workshopIndia Pvt Ltd.
· Gautam,I.P. 2008, Mixing Financial Sources for Slum Upgrading/ Prevention Ahmedabad SlumNetworking Programme at Seminar:Improving Slum Conditions through Innovative Financing. UN-HABITAT