Informal Economy in Urban India: A Temporal and Spatial Analysis- in the Interface of Gender

Employment in informal sector and informal employment is perceived to be precarious, as the workers are often not covered by any social security net and security of job. Initial perception of economic growth to be a counter measure restricting expansion of the informal sector, is now challenged, as growth followed by opening up of nation’s market has actually either unaltered the contribution of the informal sector or has led to its deepening. Literature suggests that direct link between work in informal sector and poverty cannot be established. This study, based on NSSO data, focuses on the culmination of the informal sector over a decade and its spatial manifestation. It reflects that even states, with high economic growth have pre-dominant informal sector and that regional economy is the blend of available resources, location and openness of the economy. This study builds a background to the structure of employment in India in the last decade and concludes that despite openness informal sector appears to be a permanent feature of Indian economy. In the interface of gender, tertiary sector and low skill manufacturing employ significant proportion of women but the educated urban women find employment opportunities in formal sector thus exhibiting a high degree of skewness among urban women.

Baishali Lahiri, Research Associate, NIUA, New Delhi
Auditing and Scoring the Pedestrian Micro-Environments of Varied Neighbourhoods in Amritsar City

Suitable pedestrian environments are essential prerequisites for promoting walk culture amongst the neighbourhood residents. The paper builds around the hypothesis that the built environments of the varied neighbourhoods in Amritsar city do not appropriately respond to the pedestrian concerns. The research intends to investigate the various micro-environmental features of diverse neighbourhoods that impact upon the city’s pedestrian culture. The adapted version of the Pedestrian Environmental Data Scan (PEDS) audit tool was utilized for the purpose. The seven shortlisted parameters of pedestrian built environment were audited through 34 objectives and 7 subjective questions to explore their prevalence in the overall city. Walkability scores were generated for the selected neighbourhoods based on various parameters which were then statistically analyzed to understand and interpret their variability across the city. The study found that the neighbourhood streets of Amritsar are deficient in most walkability related features, therefore, demanding urgent attention. The overall walkability scores fall within a narrow range signifying almost similar walkability conditions across the diverse neighbourhoods of Amritsar city.

Meenakshi Singhal, Department of Architecture, GNDU, Amritsar, Punjab
Residential Satisfaction under Public Housing in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand (India): An Econometric Assessment

Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) was the first landmark initiative launched by the Government of India in 2005. The laudable objective was to assist cities and towns in improving infrastructure and providing basic services to the poor in cities. Two of the sub-missions of JNNURM, namely Basic Services to the Urban Poor (BSUP) and Integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme (IHSDP) targeted at extending affordable housing and basic services to the urban poor, including slum dwellers. However, the poor performance of the mission in terms of provision of housing facilities and basic services to the urban poor, especially slum dwellers, raises fundamental questions on the design of JNNURM (BSUP and IHSDP), its conceptual framework, the scheme guidelines and the manner of its implementation. This paper has examined the ‘residential satisfaction’ with regard to public housing constructed under the BSUP sub-mission of JNNURM in Dehradun, Haridwar in Uttarakhand and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh. This is based on an assessment of satisfaction with respect to parameters such as location, design of the house which includes the structure of the house and access to basic services like water connection, electricity, solid waste management, latrine facility, drainage etc. and employment opportunities. The other factors which are used to assess the residential satisfaction are: condition of the slum houses in preshifting phase, post-shifting housing conditions and the participation of community in the overall designing and implementation of the projects. The paper employed the hedonic approach to housing, Principal Component Analysis and Multinomial Logit regression. The major findings of the study revealed that the satisfaction with public housing provided under BSUP was largely conditioned by the ‘location’ of the house, factors such as distance from workplace, distance from schools and hospitals, distance from the city centre etc. and ‘access’ to jobs and basic amenities. Location (as advocated by urban and transport economics) is found to be the most important factor which affects the satisfaction level of the people towards new housing.

Namrata. S. Panwar, Young Professional, NITI Aayog and Alok Kumar Mishra, Assistant Professor, School of Economics, Hyderabad
Rural-Urban Linkage and Change: A Study of Fringe Villages in Vadodara City

The urban regions of India are increasingly facing several challenges of dealing with highly dynamic city growth and at the same time, institutional changes like decentralisation and globalisation. These kinds of changes express themselves most evidently in rural-urban fringes areas, where urban and rural life meet. These fringe areas are dynamic and have been at the different stages of rapid physical, social and economic transformations at particular time. Based on the primary survey and some secondary literature this paper makes an effort to identify generic attributes of changes in three selected fringe villages of Vadodara city. Few major attributes of fringe villages identified in this study are fringe space (the spatial expression of rural-urban fringe development); fringe area as functional unit (the functional appearances of land use, activities and fringe innovation); fringe as way of life (cultural attributes of fringe village dwellers) and change in fringe villages (a causal and temporal perspective feature in flows and drivers of change).

Kanchan Bharati, Dhananjay Kumar and Jayesh Shah, Centre for Culture and Development, Vadodara, Gujarat
Mapping agency through consent and consensus – a study of slum evictions in Kathputli Colony

From 1990s, Delhi has seen a series of slum evictions and resettlement to the outskirts as a result of Public Interest Litigations. The consequent loss of livelihoods of the urban poor due to displacement was criticized by scholars, activists and advocacy groups. As a result, the recent turn in Delhi’s urban redevelopment plans has been towards in-situ slum rehabilitation. Due to the recent reforms in land acquisition laws, this model requires the consent based consensus of the community residing on the land. Through the analysis of two recent housing policy documents, and a field study of temporary slum evictions in Kathputli Colony, the present work aims to locate agency of the urban poor in terms of its capacity to give informed consent and form a consensus.

Ushosee Pal, Ph.D. Scholar, Department of Sociology, Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi
Paradox of Being Elderly in Urban West Bengal in the Light of Disintegrating Families Caused by Youth Outmigration

Recent times have seen increasing focus on adult and elderly population across the globe, but because of pertinent difference of the gestation period of doubling of elderly population between the developed and the developing world is indeed a concern as the latter is not prepared in terms of infrastructure to accommodate the issues of the growing elderly burden. On top of that, in countries like India, elderly care was never thought of to be having problem because of the extended family types. However, of late there has been a disintegration of family structures due to the outmigration of the working age group, raising the concern of whom to depend on for the elderly care-taking. The present study set up in the backdrop of urban West Bengal also finds out that in many cases, the elderly population have emerged to be primary contributors in the total household expenditure. The study therefore, tries to address the issues attached to the nature of work engagement of the elderly in the light of the disintegrated families. It posits the elderly in the economic backdrop within the family in different family structures prevalent in the urban parts of the state of West Bengal.

Sweta Bhusan, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, NIUA and Dipendra Nath Das, Professor, CSRD, JNU, New Delhi
Book Review:

Suptendu P. Biswas, Assorted City: Equity, Justice and Politics in Urban Services Delivery

Reviewed by Rumi Aijaz