Very little upward mobility in slums: study

Monday, July 23, 2018
The Hindu

No upward mobility

Even among those in notified slums, moving up the social ladder is a rarity. The survey reveals that households who have been in these slums for more than four generations earn just ₹8,000 per month, which is marginally more than a first-generation migrant to the city whose cumulative earnings of his family here is ₹7,158 per month on average. While a majority of the older generation worked as handymen or street vendors, the younger generation work in similarly low-remuneration jobs, such as office clerks or security guards or salesmen. 

“This is very concerning. Policy should be geared to create opportunities for greater upward mobility. We’ve found that either the children continue in the same professions as their parents or take up low-paying jobs. There are hardworking, smart people in slums who just cannot earn enough for a better life,” said Anirudh Krishna from Duke University, who has led the research team since the start of the project in 2010. 

Findings of the project, which was conducted in partnership with two American Universities (North Carolina State University and University of North Carolina) and the investment firm Omidyar Network, were released at a workshop on Monday. 

The stagnancy in slums is evident in terms of amenities too. Satellite imagery of 40 slums between 2000 — when the IT industry was strengthening its hold in the city — and 2015, showed that 60% of the slums had no perceptible change in physical characteristics. Only in three were there significant improvements.

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