Source of Funding : Secours Catholique, France
Collaboration : Indo-Global Social Service Society (IGSSS)
Implementing Agency : Indian Institute of Education & Care (IIEC)
Area of Operation : 8 Slum areas of Cuttack Municipal Corporation
Tulashipur Matha Sahi, Hatigada, (Ward No- 8)
Tulsipur Tanla Sahi (Ward No – 8)
Pilgrim Road (Ward No –38)
Tulasipur Baurisahi (Ward No –8)
Malgodown Nuasahi (Ward No –38)
Bila Sahi (Ward No – 9 )
Tinigharia (Ward No – 16 )
Gurkha Colony (Ward – 38)
District - Cuttack
State - Odisha
Status of Project – Ongoing (since 1st April 2018)
Goal of the Project :
The quality of life of urban poor and informal sector workers has been enhanced by the active participation of community based coalitions in urban governance, for securing their residential and livelihood rights, through policy engagement at city, state and national levels.
20 number of local community collectives of urban poor in 4 cities are actively engaging with Urban Local Bodies ULBs, elected representatives and other relevant stakeholders on local issues of identity, entitlements, living and working conditions in the communities.
10 number of city level collectives are strengthened to actively participate in city and state level federations advocating for the issues of residential and livelihood rights of poor in urban spaces
Workers engaged in the urban informal sector form the bulk of the urban poor. Workers in this sector get low wages or if they are self employed, their income is meager. This implies that their living conditions are low and if employed their wages are less than the stipulated minimum wages. There are hardly any regulations on their working conditions and social security is virtually non-existent. A large section of this population consists of low skilled rural migrants covering Construction workers, Domestic workers, vendors and other informal sector workers.
Construction Workers: There is an estimated work force of around 25000 source –Cuttack Municipal Corporation construction workers currently engaged in the construction sector. Most of these workers are without any formal identity and social security coverage just surviving at the mercy of brokers and labor contractors. Many workers are said to be unskilled and hence under paid as they don’t have any formal document to prove their efficiency. They are neither covered under labor laws nor covered under any health and insurance policies.
Domestic Workers: Another slot of informal sector workers are the Domestic Help approximately covering around 24,785 girls women from urban slums just to work as permanent house maids. The female domestic workers are employed for household chores like cooking, cleaning, dusting, sweeping and mopping the house, washing clothes and or utensils, ironing ,marketing, running errands, childcare, care of the aged or disabled, etc. They are employed on a temporary, part time or full time basis. The terms of employment may be expressed or implied. These workers do the most menial arduous tasks, have impossibly long hours with no benefits of social security, security of employment, wage raises, paid leave or medical facilities.
Street Vendors : The case street vendors is no exception. Around 15000 Street Vendors eke-out their living with various products in and around Cuttack city. Though they have an association of their own, they can’t muster up adequate courage to fight against injustice. They play a vital role in urban market economy but always remain neglected as a force. Only a handful of vendors are placed in vending zones developed on PPP mode and allotted by Cuttack Municipal Corporation. Most of them sit on the pavements and unauthorized places attracting city consumers at a very reasonable price for the produces. But they don’t deserve a fair treatment just because of their poverty and slum tag. Like any other citizen, they don’t enjoy anything in terms of basic facilities.
About the Project :
The urban scenario has undergone a sea change but not a single and uniform policy has been formulated either at the state or national level. The National Slum Development policy is still in the cold store of the Govt. of India since decades.
The major lacuna in the existing policy framework is absolute lack of stakeholders’ consultation and participation.
Lack of unanimity has left the primary stakeholders isolated and out of the ambit of development.
Lack of a labor policy affects the life and livelihood of informal sector workers such as construction workers, street vendors, rickshaw trolley pullers and domestic help etc. this policy should cover their education, health, livelihood and social security etc.
Another lacuna is a serious lack of convergence among several line departments of the Govt. affecting the life of the informal sector workers.
Situation Analysis and Rationale :
IIEC has been engaged with urban poor in Bhubaneswar as well as Cuttack city since 2000. The interventions range from education, health, disability and livelihood to governance. The stakeholders represent slum dwellers in terms of children, women, informal sector workers and transgender. While working under the project, ‘Community Governance in Infrastructure Services’ sponsored by European Union and Practical Action, IIEC engagement with the urban poor in 25 slums of Bhubaneswar helped us establish governance models in some segments like safe drinking water, sanitation and waste management. The slum dwellers at the grassroots level proved as the decision makers in the consultative decision-making process and established them as very effective managers and owners with enhanced skill and knowledge. The experience of this successful program led IIEC to engage with urban poor communities of Cuttack city in a more effective manner under ‘Towards Empowering for Inclusive Cities’ supported by IGSSS. Collectives have come up with information, knowledge, enhanced skill and empowerment at all levels. The community collectives have commanded space in the governance mechanism. Livelihood training in various appropriate trades has boosted their confidence in gaining financial inclusion and prosperity. The primary stakeholders have staked their legitimate claim to housing for rehabilitation and also in-situ housing settlement without losing their local traditional resources and livelihood setup.
Major target groups like Construction Workers, Domestic Workers and Street Vendors have already enabled themselves at the grassroots level. But in order to realize the goal of the urban poor as a whole, there has to be substantial reformation in policy matters in the domains of land rights, housing, livelihood and social justice etc.
Cuttack, the adopted city in the current program will continue to have all the interventions ranging from community and CBO to the city level collectives and federation. This vantage ground will provide all the inputs and substance for strengthening the proposed project. But this is quite essential to include Bhubaneswar as an integral part of the project to fulfill the aspirations of the urban poor in terms of policy changes and execution of pro-poor program in letter and spirit.