Vigyan Foundation

Project Theme

Urban Poverty

Target Group


Project Period

01 Jul 2015 - 30 Jun 2016

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In terms of Urban population, Uttar Pradesh is the second largest state with 22.3%2 of the population residing in urban settlements where as 20%2 of the urban population accounts for marginal workers. 

The state does not have clear guidelines on rehabilitation, secured housing rights with adequate provisions of basic services especially for slum dwellers. Both notified and de-notified slums lacks basic services like water, electricity, health, education and slum residents are excluded from social security schemes like maternity benefit, pension scheme etc. Basic services are linked to tenure rights which excludes resident of de-notified (so called illegal slums) from basic amenities. Labour posts and working sites of unorganized sector workers lacks basic facilities like safe drinking water, shelter, toilets, electricity etc. 

Around four million of unorganized sector workers are from domestic workers are not being recognized as workers which again excludes them from basic facilities and legal rights like Factory Act, Minimum wages act, provident fund, gratuity, maternity benefits etc. They are always exposed to sexual and physical exploitation and lacks collective bargaining power. The idea of smart cities are being promoted for urban development and reconstruction of urban settlements across country which has threat to displacement of urban poor and their exclusion in planning process. 


About the Project: 

The project is being implemented by Vigyan Foundation in six cities with direct intervention in 55 slums of Lucknow and Allahabad and through advocacy project will reach out to Kanpur, Agra, Ghaziabad and Jhansi cities. In the previous intervention period collective of slum dwellers called “Sehri Gareeb Sangarsh Morcha’ (collective of urban unorganized sector workers) has been built up which will be further strengthened and liked to state level advocacy through “Asangathit Kamgar Adhikar Manch (state level collective of unorganized sector workers and CSOs working for their rights). Awareness will be done for delinking basic services with tenure rights through collective. Advocacy will be done for inclusion of urban poor voice in city planning by linking them with district urban development authority (DUDA), state urban development authority (SUDA), urban local bodies (ULBs), corporators etc. 

Specific focus will be on collectivizing domestic workers to demand for their recognition as labor so that they will be linked to basic services and rights being given to laborers. Through collective advocacy will be done for demanding basic rights and entitlements for domestic workers like maternity benefit, paid leave, recognition as labor, social security schemes, benefit of provident fund and gratuity, minimum wages for domestic workers etc. 


Outcomes are: 

1.Domestic workers of 6 cities will have secured housing rights and provisions for basic services.

2.Increase in the housing rights and basic services for urban poor with inclusive city planning in 6 cities. 


Results to be Achieved / Impact:  Following results will be achieved from the project intervention: 

1.The issue of labour rights of domestic workers is taken due cognizance by the state government.

2.The concept of de-linking of basic services from tenure rights of urban poor is mainstreamed.

3.Voice of urban poor will be included in the city planning of Lucknow and Allahabad.



We have so far achieved (Achievements):

•Leadership development of 45 new committed women leaders who take initiative on cases of domestic violence, provision of basic services, girl education etc.

•Leadership development of 24 new committed male leaders who are active at slum and district level community mobilization.

•Urban poor have become organized and demand their rights from the Government to secure housing tenure rights and access to basic services. At present there are 7629 members (Female- 4530, Male: 3099) in the SGSM collective. 

•Through the urban poor alliance/network named Asangathit Kaamgar Adhikar Manch AKAM morcha has made the issues of urban poor visible in 11 cities of the state.

•2508 members of urban poor have received benefit of various social security benefit including old age pension, widow pension, handicap pension, maternity benefit etc. 


Quotes of Beneficiaries: 

“With our collective effort we got electricity.  Now it seems we live in city in a dignified way.”- Ram Sharan Gautam, member of slum collective (age- 50 years)


Case Studies/Human stories: 

Poorvideen Kheda is a non-notified slum on Haider Canal, Lucknow where slum dwellers are residing from past 15 years. The slum was infested with a number of problems like absence of water, electricity, sewer-line, road etc. Two years back residents did not even had local ration cards or voter cards. 

Facilitation was done for formation of slum collective and a strong collective came out for raising their collective demands. With the collective effort of slum dwellers two hand-pumps were installed. During the census enumeration slum was excluded from counting but slum collective members went to enumeration office and met with officials demanding their counting. After lots of negotiation and tussle they were finally included in the enumeration and more than 60% resident received voters’ id card. 

Later during the meeting of slum collective one major problem of electricity was identified. Summers were hell and nothing could be done after the sun was set. This affected the studies of children as well. A good night sleep was something people just dreamt of. Whenever they applied for electricity connection, they were turned away on the ground that “illegal” slums cannot be provided electricity connections.

In the month of July 2015, the state government came up with an order that illegal slums and hutments will also be provided with legal electricity and it will require no residence proof. One can apply for it by providing a copy of identity proof. When the slum residents came to know of this order, it brought a huge relief for them. Immediately the meeting of the slum committee was called and the information was passed to one and all. The core committee members approached the local authorities and were informed that special camps were being organized in their area in the coming week.

Next week seven slum dwellers went in the camp and submitted a fee of Rs 2000/- each for connection. Since there were no electric pole in the slum had to depend on bamboo poles to support wire connection but collective collected Rs. 3000 for permanent pole and new pole has been installed. Finally, 134 households got valid electricity connection. Now the slum which used to be immersed in darkness now illuminates at night.