Challenges of urban poverty in India are intimately tied with challenges of the country’s fast development. One of the major aspect of environmental degradation of urban areas is the status of infrastructure, condition of houses and health of the people in the sliums.Indian cities have come to dominate the charts as the world’s biggest cities for the first time in modern history. Such high-speed, colossal growth, as impressive as it may be, poses several problems if not threats: pollution (air, soil, water), and a disproportionate concentration of poverty, among others.

As cities grew, so did the slums, "welcoming" more rural migrants and creating more urban poverty in India. Even though people keep on flowing from the countryside, the government has not managed to create enough housing for everyone. That leaves a major aspect of affordable housing for the poor.

A slum, as defined by the United Nations agency UN-HABITAT, is a run-down area of a city characterized by substandard housing, squalor, and lacking in tenure security. According to the United Nations, the percentage of urban dwellers living in slums decreased from 47 percent to 37 percent in the developing world between 1990 and 2005. However, due to rising population, and the rise especially in urban populations, the number of slum dwellers is rising.

The Census of India defines a slum as "residential areas where dwellings are unfit for human habitation" because they are dilapidated, cramped, poorly ventilated, unclean, or "any combination of these factors which are detrimental to the safety and health".

Roughly 1.37 crore households, or 17.4% of urban Indian households lived in a slum in 2011, data released by the registrar general and census commissioner's office showed. The new data is difficult to compare with previous years, because the 2011 Census covers all 4,041 statutory towns in India, as compared to 2001 when only statutory towns with population over 20,000 were covered. The 2001 data had set India's slum population at 15% of the total population. The statistics may vary, but the issue of improving living conditions is one of the major challenges. The Government has been tackling this for a long time – employment schemes, slum upgradation, provision of water, health care and sanitation. 

Source: SLUMS