The Government Resolution Extending Dates for Slum Regularisation in Maharashtra [%new%]
News Courtesy-Shraddha Chaudhary, III Year (B.A., LL.B Hons.), NLSIU
Issue: The extension of dates for regularisation of slums in Mumbai, Pune and Thane, and the questions it raises
On July 22nd, 2014, the Maharashtra Government issued a Government Resolution stating that all slums that came up before January, 2000 would be regularised. The date was extended, through the resolution, by five years. This would mean that the slums that came up in this period would also be given recognition under the Slum Rehabilitation Schemes, and would be entitled to receive benefits such as regular water supply, access to tenements and so on.
As of now, more than 1.2 million people in Pune and several more in Mumbai live in slums, of which 25% are not notified to his day. This has led to most slum dwellers being deprived of any and all benefits of development projects in the city, to the extent of being cut off from even basic civic amenities.
The decision has been seen in different lights by different factions. On the one hand, some groups have hailed it as a progressive move that will allow slum dwellers to reap benefits that they ought to be given as citizens of the city. On the other hand, officials have criticised it as a purely political move that will not be implemented and will only serve to expand slums. Regularisation of slums had been part of the Congress manifesto in 2004 and well as 2009, and with the assembly polls around the corner, it is speculated that this may be nothing more than a move to expand their voter base. Other political factions have supported this latter view by citing that the mandatory ‘declaration of slums’ required under sections 4 and 5 of the Slums Ac, 1971, has no happened for hundreds of slums across Mumbai City. Officials have also voiced concerns over the lack of any mechanism to control the growth of slums in the future.
Experts have proposed something of a middle path, that is, to create joint slum management projects, run by slum dwellers themselves and facilitated by the Slum Rehabilitation Authority, in the form of securing guarantees for loans required for the project and so on.
Conclusion: It appears that the Government Resolution for extending dates for the regularisation of slums has the potential to benefit those slums which came up between 1995 and 2000. But the policy decision, which was taken after a mandate by the Bombay High Court, seems to be more politically motivated. Notwithstanding that, if, unlike previous schemes, this scheme is implemented, there may be some respite in sight for the urban poor through an increased reach of he Slum Rehabilitation Schemes.
 The Slum Rehabilitation Authority is empowered to do so under the Maharashtra Slum Areas (Improvement, Clearance and Redevelopment) Act, 1971.
 TNN, Urban Planners Rue State’s Pro-Slum Policy, The Times of India, (July 24th, 2014) available at http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/pune/Urban-planners-rue-states-pro-slum-policy/articleshow/38939228.cms.
 TNN, AAP Denounces Government’s 2000 Slum Regularisation Cut-Off Date, The Times of India, (February 27th, 2014), available at (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/AAP-denounces-governments-2000-slum-regularization-cut-off-date/articleshow/31120661.cms.)
 OZG Centre, Maharashtra, Maharashtra Regularises Mumbai Slums, available at (http://maharashtra.ozg.in/2009/07/maharashtra-regularizes-mumbai-slums.html.).
 Supra note 2.