Transparent Chennai recently hosted a workshop on “Evaluating the JnNURM and Preparing for the Future” with a special focus on the urban poor. The first phase of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM) had allotted projects worth Rs. 4970 crore for Chennai, to build new infrastructure in the city. Even as the Mission promised to deliver basic municipal services for the urban poor, it has succeeded only in increasing investments in housing, particularly resettlement colonies in the outskirts of the city. Infrastructure meant specifically for the urban poor has received a small portion of the total allocations. Since the second phase of the JnNURM and the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) emphasise in situ development of slums and public participation in the projects, it is crucial to make a positive intervention to ensure that the benefits of these future schemes go to the intended beneficiaries.
Transparent Chennai hosted this workshop to increase awareness on these policies, and to discuss the road ahead. Dr. Sudhir Krishna, Secretary of the Ministry of Urban Development, addressed the participants of the workshop via video conference. He emphasised on the need for higher public participation and public consultations in the implementation of schemes, not only for inclusiveness but also for the government to have an opportunity to clarify its intent behind schemes and policies to the public. After Transparent Chennai presented its research, many residents of slums shared their experiences with the schemes so far, and the lack of basic services where they live.
More than 200 people including researchers, activists and students attended the workshop. There were members of the Unorganised Workers’ Federation, Penn Thozhilalar Sangam, Jai Ambedkar Welfare Society and the Tamil Nadu Women’s Collective, among other organisations. Experts from Hazards Centre, Delhi, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, and representatives of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board participated in the programme as well.