The capital city of the state of Andhra Pradesh in India is living with a rather stark problem. Poverty in Hyderabad is becoming a serious problem. Hyderabad has about 540,000 people—around 13 percent of the population—living under the poverty line. The city is characterized by its large number of slums.

The main issues of urban poverty reduction in Hyderabad are slum-based, some solutions would be to:

  • Build low-income settlements of a sizable number
  • Notify slums which are doing well
  • Recognize the homeless population which is not getting counted
  • Inform people about gender issues making women vulnerable
  • Address the community organization that is skewed.

By addressing these problems, Hyderabad can start to see some turn around.

The National Institute of Urban Affairs, or NIUA, has created a special strategy just for the city of Hyderabad. The strategy is called the Urban Poverty Reduction Strategy, or UPRS. With this strategy Hyderabad can start having its problems recognized and diagnosed.

The broad objectives of the UPRS are to develop sub-sectoral strategies aimed at leveraging resources for addressing the needs of the urban poor, to promote participation of the urban poor in the UPRS and to promote pro-poor institutional reforms. Some of the pro-poor policies and programs include initiatives like the Slum Improvement Act and the Strategy Papers for Poverty Alleviation Andhra Pradesh.

These answer a lot of the problems of Hyderabad. Executing all of these functions would allow the city to have a sustainable functionality, which is what is sought after when fighting poverty. The community needs to be able to work for itself and be able to provide the basic needs, and then a little more, in order to grow.

The leveraging of resources that was mentioned above in the broad objectives refers to the actions of the UPRS that would allow the city to break some ground on the movement and then create momentum with these actions. Some of the actions that they believe will provide ample leverage are:

  • Adequate living conditions for the urban poor to provide basic needs so they can perform everyday tasks and earn an income.
  • Adequate economic opportunities for the urban poor for those who are ready to take on a job to ensure sustenance.
  • Improved local governance through partnerships for urban poverty reduction so that regulations for improvement can be enforced.

By bringing out these actions, poverty in Hyderabad can start to dwindle. The UPRS is basically planting a seed and then reinforcing the ways to make sure that seed will grow. If the seed receives the nourishment (all the leverage) it needs and does grow, poverty in Hyderabad may see the end of its days.

Erik Nelson

Sources: Centre for Good Governance, RUAF, NIUA
Photo: Common Floor