Plight of the Homeless
When the winter engulfs the city every year, there are people who live in open or roadside, pavements, in hume-pipes, under flyovers and staircases, or in the open places of worship, mandaps and railway platforms in this freezing cold. Prime Minister Modi’s target of providing every Indian a house by 2022 seems to be a tough task as more than 1.77 million people in India are homeless. Indeed, a shocking statistics which give an insight to the ongoing issue of homelessness in the country. But in a long run, proper planning and judicious spending of the money may help the states in meeting the deadline.
A Supreme Court appointed panel headed by a former Delhi high court judge has projected that over 90% of the homeless don’t have roof above their head as state governments have failed miserably in setting up shelter homes. Almost Rs 2,000 crore have been released since National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM) which was launched in 2013. The report slammed the state governments for not using the funds for the homeless in urban centers which forced them to survive on the roadside, railway platforms or under flyovers.
The NULM scheme covers almost 790 cities where state governments are to build permanent, all-weather shelters for urban homeless with basic infrastructure like water supply, sanitation, safety and security. The report shows that around 50% of the Rs 2,185 crore released have not been utilized by states. According to the 2011 census, of the 17.73 lakh homeless in the country, around 10 lakh are in urban areas. As much as 65.3% of homeless live in five states i.e. UP, Maharastra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.
The Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation laid down a target of 2022 to provide shelter to each and every homeless household in the country. Abiding by the pledge, the central government has allocated funds to the state governments and Union Territories over the last four years. However, the funds which are allocated for these specific purposes shouldn't get sidetracked at any cost because of the adverse affect which comes with it.
The intensity and vigor for resolving the issue has not been taken seriously by the government. Hence, it paves the way for the increase in number of cold deaths in the capital city as well as other North-Indian states. Negligence shown by the authorities rouse heated debates still, nothing seems to be working for the homeless as they struggle to survive in the cold fighting to death every single day.