Recent Editorial

The Editorial 02-12-2022 Homelessness in India

DEVELOPMENT
02 Dec, 2022

Theme : Poverty & Development Issues

Paper:GS - 1

TABLE OF CONTENT 

  1. Context
  2. Issue of Homelessness
  3. Reasons for Homelessness
  4. Estimation of Homeless in India.
  5. Addressing the Issue

Context : In India, the northern states face extreme weather in peak winter and summer. Hundreds of homeless people die in winter due to harsh cold conditions and, in summer, due to intolerable heat.

Issue of Homelessness : 

  • Lack of record: There is an absence of official records enumerating deaths due to homelessness. It undermines the scale of the crisis in the era of statistics and showcases states apathy.
  • Extreme poverty: Homelessness is one of the worst forms of marginalization as most homeless individuals suffer from malnutrition and extreme poverty.
  • Poor health condition: Access to healthcare facilities and their affordability is also a hurdle. Exorbitant conditions affect mental health in many cases.
  • Vulnerability to violence: Moreover, these conditions also give rise to drug and alcohol consumption. It creates a conducive situation for substance abuse. Such circumstances increase an individual’s vulnerability to violence, especially in the case of women and children.
  • Social castigation: Stigmatization and social marginalization compound their precarious situation. In a nutshell, homelessness strips a person from all human rights.

Reasons for Homelessness : 

  • Extreme poverty
  • Inadequate affordable housing
  • High levels of inequality
  • Discrimination
  • Low wages
  • High rents
  • The soaring cost of living

Estimation of Homeless in India : 

  • The 2011 census estimate: Nearly 17.7 lakhs people as houseless, however, the census fails to capture the entire homeless population.

  • Commissioners of Supreme courts: since Census are conducted every 10 years, this data is decadal old. As per the Commissioners of the Supreme Court, 1 percent of the urban population is homeless, making it a population of ~37 lakhs.
  • The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs: Ministry conducted a third-party survey in 2019 to identify the urban homeless. It estimates that approximately 23.93 lakh people are homeless. Population increase and the COVID-19 pandemic have fueled the rise in the homeless population.
  • Addressing the Issue : 
  • Responsibility of ULBs: The responsibility of accessing the homeless population rests with the urban local bodies. Local authorities need to conduct surveys to assess the homeless population.
  • Decentralization of funds: State governments must implement the 74th Constitutional Amendment in its true spirit. Its implementation will empower ULBs, which can then bring all the shelter homes under the ambit of SMCs and train them to manage local issues.
  • Ensuring the benefits through ULBs: It can help them to secure benefits and guarantee the convergence of various government schemes, thus also addressing deep-rooted issues like violence and exclusion.

FAQs : 

  1. What are the Reasons for Homelessness?

ANS. 

  • Extreme poverty
  • Inadequate affordable housing
  • High levels of inequality
  • Discrimination
  • Low wages
  • High rents
  • The soaring cost of living

b)What are the worst effects of Homelessness ?

ANS.  Stigmatization and social marginalization compound their precarious situation. In a nutshell, homelessness strips a person from all human rights.

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