UNDP: India Urban Poverty Strategy (2013–17)

Aromar Revi, Somnath Sen, Garima Jain, Kavita Wankhade, Shriya Anand | 5 December 2014 

Executive Summary:

Urban India produces over 60 per cent of its GDP, with less than a third of its population. The urban informal sector at a quarter of total employment produces a quarter of India’s GDP making it as important in scale and contribution to the economy as the formal sector. Yet, the urban sector is deeply underinvested, has shallow human and institutional depth and urban poverty has historically had very limited political and policy attention.
Urban poverty is multi-dimensional in scope; widening in numbers and deepening faster than rural poverty in India. Traditional uni-dimensional poverty reduction approaches that have had some success in rural India have and will fail in urban India. The governance, resources management, and risk mitigation frames have a strong rural emphasis – making change even more difficult.
UNDP can lead in the creation of a new multi-dimensional and human development-centred entitlement framework and discourse to address urban poverty in the XII Plan. This will enable: significant increases in urban employment; the urban informal sector to grow faster and at higher productivity than the national economy; filling of institutional and knowledge gaps so that available resources and innovation can be deployed efficiently and scaled effectively. This would meet the inclusion, sustainability and growth imperatives of the Plan and help close structural gaps: between large villages and small towns; manufacturing and services-led development; rapidly developing and deeply vulnerable economic and social groups and regions.