|Community Approach to Integrated Basic Services Promoting Health and Livelihood for the Urban Poor - UNCHS Pilot Project: Lucknow, Rajkot, Visakhapatnam (Government of India - HABITAT, 1999, 90 p.)|
In several cities of developing countries, the problem of lack of basic services for the urban poor has not been effectively dealt with by the local governments and basic urban services, where available, have been organised in an unplanned manner. The principal driving force for the urban poor has been a combination of livelihood development and the desire to improve their immediate living environment. Many local authorities are now realising the benefits of supporting community-based initiatives, as there is every indication that strengthened community action and the development of micro-enterprises for service provision will increasingly compliment the role of traditional service providers.
A major problem facing the urban poor in India is the inaccessibility to services. The impact of this is maximum on the urban poor living in informal settlements which often remain outside the reach of municipal services expected to be provided by the local governments. In some cities, however, the increasing role of NGOs and community groups in the management of basic services has been strengthened and they have found local solutions to these problems.
Several examples of community involvement are available in India particularly relating to primary collection of solid wastes, recycling and reuse of domestic wastes, and serviced toilets. Such efforts by the communities not only reduce the burden of service provision for local authorities but also help to keep the neighbourhood clean, reduce water and air pollution, conserve valuable natural resources through waste recovery and provide significant opportunities for additional employment and income generation.
The Government of India has been fully committed to poverty alleviation and improving the welfare of the urban poor. It launched several schemes in the fifties and sixties for the participation of communities in the development and provision of services in urban centres under the of community development programmes. Since then a number of participatory poverty alleviation programmes have been promoted. As a result there has been a significant reduction in the proportion of people whose incomes are below the poverty line. The most recent effort by the Central Government is through its new scheme Swarna Jayanti Shahri Rozgar Yojana which was launched in 1997.
In view of the strong commitment to alleviate poverty in a participatory manner, the Government of India entered into a Cooperation Agreement with UNCHS (Habitat) to develop a strategy for increasing the role of community groups in the management of basic services and test the "Promotion of Community Approach to Integrated Basic Services, promoting Health and Livelihood for the Urban Poor".
The UNCHS project has been implemented in three Cities of India; Lucknow, Rajkot and Visakhapatnam. This publication has documented experiences of these three Cities and the strategy followed by these Cities for promoting a community approach to Integrated Basic Services. The study has also analysed the lessons learnt from implementing this strategy and examined the possibilities of its replication in other cities of India on a larger scale.
I gratefully acknowledge the UNCHS (Habitat) support in this collaborative initiative with my Ministry of Urban Development, as well as the participating bodies from the cities of Lucknow, Rajkot and Visakhapatnam.
Ministry of Urban Development
Government of India