India, China become leading nations to move urban population out of slums

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Mumbai, Mar. 19 (ANI): With India and China lifting more and more of their urban population out of slum-like conditions every year, 227 million people across the world have moved out of urban slums over the past decade, according to a UN-Habitat report on the state of the world's cities.

China's urban population living in slums fell from 37.3 percent in 2000 to 28.2 percent today; in India, nearly 60 million were lifted from slum conditions over the same time.

The authors of the report credit China's economic reforms and pro-growth and urbanization policies, and India's efforts to provide microcredit, tenure, and basic services in slums.

"For the first time we are moving toward ... accommodating of the poor and of the slums," The Christian Science Monitor quoted Amita Bhide, an associate professor at the Centre for Urban Planning and Governance at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, as saying.

Estimates of the percentage of people who live in slums in Mumbai range from 49 to 60 percent, she said.

"There is, I feel, some sort of acceptance that slums are a very big constituency, so most slums have at least a basic level of services. Most Mumbai slums have access to safe water and some forms of access road. But when it comes to sanitation, the level of services is very poor," she added.

While half the world's population now lives in cities, the number of people living in slums has still grown, adding 55 million over the past decade to reach 827.6 million this year

The largest slum population worldwide is in sub-Saharan Africa, at nearly 200 million (61.7 percent of its urban population). That's followed by southern Asia, at 190 million (35 percent).

The UN defines a slum as lacking at least one of the following:. Durable housing that protects against extreme climate conditions

2. No more than three people sharing a room

3. Easy access to safe water

4. Access to a sanitary toilet

5. Secure tenure (ANI)

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