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close this bookCommunity 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.)
close this folder4. Visakhapatnam City Project
View the document4.1 The City Profile
View the document4.2 Socio-economic Profile
View the document4.3 Infrastructure Arrangements
View the document4.4 Institutional Arrangements, Management and Finance
View the document4.5 Slum Areas under UNCHS Programme
View the document4.6 Strategies and Activities

4.2 Socio-economic Profile

The city has three distinct entities - the older habitations near the port areas, the subsequently developed areas and the peripheral settlements at and beyond the municipal boundary. Some settlements have also developed organically on the slopes of the various hillocks, which dominate the city skyline.

Owing to the shortage in the housing stock and the migration of low-income people to the city, the incidence of slum growth has been prolific. The slum population of Visakhapatnam is estimated to have risen from 112,000 in 1976 to 237/000 at present. Part of the rise is no doubt attributable to a higher birth rate but the larger part of rise is due to immigration. The immigration rate in slums is about twice that of the city as a whole.

Urban Community Development in Visakhapatnam

The Urban Community Development (UCD) Department had conducted a detailed census survey of all the slums of the city of Visakhapatnam during 1985-86. As per the survey, there were 170 slums in the city with 36,658 households and a population of 119,000 at that time.

The Municipal Corporation of Visakhapatnam constituted the UCD Department in 1979 basing on the experiences gained from other projects i.e. UCD, Hyderabad. The UCD, Visakhapatnam, which initially covered a population of 45000 with its own funds, was extended to the entire city during the year 1982 with the financial assistance of UNICEF. The project had a total value of Rs. 0.49 million for period of three years with the following objectives:

a. To ensure convergence of activities of the ICDS and UCD to maximize the coverage and to improve the quality of services rendered.

b. To extend basic services, in a phased manner, to the urban poor in the city particularly to children and women.

c. To encourage community participation in the planning, provision and maintenance of these services.

d. To enhance the planning and implementation capacity of the implementing bodies, particularly the MCV, to provide basic services to the children and women of the urban poor.

e. To encourage and promote the convergence of services to the same beneficiaries by timely and effective coordination with the sectoral departments, such as, Health, Education, PHED, Women and Child Welfare, etc.

Based on the above objectives and experiences gained a massive integrated slum improvement programme was designed with a total cost of Rs. 250 million during the year 1986. The Overseas Development Administration (ODA), Government of United Kingdom came forward to grant the entire programme with the following revised objectives:

i. Increase the supply of serviced land in the selected slums so as to provide more opportunities for affordable low-income shelter.

ii. Convert a significant proportion of squatter settlements into environmentally acceptable and legal shelters by providing land tenure, infrastructure improvements wherever necessary and shelter improvement loans.

iii. Provide basic minimum civic amenities by way of adequate dust proof approach roads, internal roads and pavements, stormwater and sullage drains, street lighting, potable drinking water etc.

iv. Improve the socio-economic and health conditions by providing pre-school education, a package of integrated health services covering supplemental nutrition, universal immunization, health education and other aspects of primary health care, strengthening maternity and child welfare centres, providing for referral services, civic education, malaria control etc. to all the slum population

v. Provide low cost sanitation as far as possible to all the families living in slums and gradually eliminate community latrines. It was proposed to provide loan facilities for construction of low-cost, pour-flush latrines with on-the-spot disposal system

vi. Help the Municipal Corporation to acquire adequate equipment to provide necessary municipal services with particular reference to solid waste management for all the city slum areas.

vii. Develop community participation and cohesiveness in sustaining the infrastructure created through both physical and socio-economic programmes. Train the population, more particularly women and youth, in proper use and maintenance of this infrastructure.

viii. Take steps to increase community awareness to have a better understanding of the problems faced by slum dwellers and develop a problem solving approach with indigenous initiative organisation , self-help and mutual aid.

ix. Develop local initiatives through educative programmes, identify and train local leaders who will act as 'contact' persons in the community.

x. Converge all the services as far as possible rendered by the State Government departments, Municipal Corporation, voluntary and non-governmental organisations.

xi. Provide technical assistance for improving the capacity of the implementing bodies particularly the Municipal Corporation in respect of planning, implementation and administration of various projects and programmes with adequate emphasis on monitoring review and evaluation techniques.

xii. Impart training in primary health care coverage of the community particularly for the children and women, family welfare, adoption of appropriate technology, improvement of skills for self-employment, providing income-generating schemes particularly for women etc.

Rehana Begum, RCV-Nizamabad, Andhra Pradesh

The profile of Rehana Begum moves like an off-beat Indian film. The second among seven children, she lived a comfortable life until her father died, when she was 11. They soon lost all that her father had earned moving into a remote slum. Her studies ended, and she was married. Rehana gave birth to twelve children, but only nine survived. Rehana had to work making beedies (handmade cigarettes made of raw tobacco leaves) at home to supplement her income. Like many other Muslim women in the state she never left her home without a burka (covering). In 1992, she became involved in UBSP and was elected as the convenor of the Neighbourhood Committee (NHC). She later became a "floor leader" voicing the aspirations of women in ten surrounding neighbourhoods and when the work demands, she unhesitatingly meets the highest officials in the district. As the NHC convenor, she initiated several activities: her small house is used at no cost as a pre-school in addition to serving as an non formal education centre for women.

Rehana Begum - from obscurity to vibrant community catalyst for development.

Along with other RCVs, she educated the public about immunization and health care with overall health improving in the community. As she herself experienced the problems of a large family, she propagates family planning, noting that in recent years the people have become receptive to her advice. Many women received training from the sewing centre run by the NHC, and to generate employment, she convinced the district authorities to place orders with them for stitching school uniforms for children. Now this has expanded to other sectors and NHCs. Regular interaction among the RCVs made them feel that they all have similar interests and goals and this realization brought a sense of solidarity among the neighbourhood women and slow improvements in their community.

Rehana Begum's experience clearly shows that factors like religion, economic status, social environment etc. cannot enchain a woman who wants to play a constructive role in the society, when some support is given. For the "empowered women", only sky is the limit.

Source: Case Study by Regional Centre for Urban & Environment Studies (RCUES), Osmania University, Hyderabad, India.

Role of UCDD in Slum Improvement

The first project undertaken by the UCDD in Visakhapatnam was the Environmental Improvement Scheme in slums (physical amenities at a cost of Rs. 13.2 million during 1979-81). Under this scheme, a land plot (either in the existing slum or at a new location) was provided to a slum household free of cost by the Municipality. The environmental services (water, sewerage, drains, roads, etc.) were also provided free of cost. Loans for construction of the houses were secured from commercial banks or Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO). People built their own houses costing Rs. 12,000 each. As many as 18,000 houses were constructed upto 1990-91 in the slums.

The Slum Improvement Projects implemented since 1988 were in many ways a remarkable effort. In different schemes, different solutions were attempted. In the Weaker Sections Housing Programme, four types of schemes were implemented simultaneously: (i) new houses on new sites, (ii) new houses in existing slum pockets, (iii) two or three storeyed houses in existing slums and (iv) shelter improvement.

The most difficult and challenging task for the UCDD was implementation of health and socio-economic development programmes. Without active participation of the people especially women, these programmes could not have been implemented successfully. The social development staff, mainly the Community Organizers and Social Workers took the responsibility of forming the Neighbourhood Committees (NHCs) one in each slum comprising mostly women members. The NHC was given the responsibility of monitoring the working of Balwadies, Anganwadies, Sewing Centres, etc. which started in each slum under the Visakhapatnam Slum Improvement Project.

A Balwadi worker from a Visakhapatnam slum. She also helps in other activities conducted at the community centre.

Neighbourhood Committees

Neighbourhood Committees (NHCs) have been formed within each slum in Visakhapatnam. They are representative of all the families residing therein and are composed of both men and women. Some NHCs comprise of only women. After registration, the NHCs obtained the cooperation of locally available community based organisations with the CDS staff in a motivating and facilitating role.

Once established with its bank account opened, funds flowed from the programme implementing authority, the UCD, to the NHC for organising programmes like Mother Leaders Training, Food and Nutrition Training, Clean Hut Competitions, Solid Waste Collection and Street Sweeping Exercises, payment of honorariums to voluntary workers like Balwadi Instructors, Ayahs, Adult and Non-formal Education Instructors and Sewing Instructors etc. on reimbursement basis from project funds. The MCV entered into an agreement with the NHCs for proper implementation and sustenance of the programme. The agreement defined the roles and responsibilities of each party.

Slum Profile

Today there are 251 identified slums in the city with a total population of 2,37,437. The total number of households is 51,855. The broad slum profile of the city is given below in Table 4.2.

Table 4.2 Visakhapatnam Slum Profile

a) No. of households in slums


b) Population


c) Caste breakup

i) SC



ii) ST



iii) BC



iv) OC



d) Average monthly Income

i) Salaried



ii) Wage earners



iii) Self employed



iv) Others



e) No. of unemployed youth


i) Male



ii) Female



f) Total No. of literates



i) Male



ii) Female



g) Total No. of illiterates



i) Male



ii) Female



h) No. of children (2 - 5 age group)


i) No. of children going to Play-school and Cre



j) No. of Children (6-15 age group)


k) No. of school going children



I) No. of working children


i) Male



ii) Female



(Figures in brackets are percentages)