Analysis of Delhi's budgetary allocations for water and sanitation services in slum areas Article in Economic and Political Weekly

India Water Portal
Saturday, November 22, 2014 - 10:30

This article in Economic and Political Weekly by analysing various budget documents, attempts to capture the quantum of budgetary outlay for Water and Sanitation Services (WSS) in the slums of Bawana and Bhalaswa in Delhi. Further it captures various systemic weaknesses that impede the effective delivery of WSS in these two slum areas. 

The increasing population of slums in Indian cities has attained significant attention in academic and policy circles. Slums have been a part of Delhi’s landscape for a long period of time. According to the official census data of 2011 for Delhi the slum population of the city is approximately 32 lakhs.

This population has put immense pressure on basic civic infrastructure especially on drinking water and sanitation. Intermittent and inequitable water supply and poor sanitation facility are prominent features of these slums. Set in the backdrop of this context, the article raises the question whether Delhi’s budget is responsive to water and sanitation services. 

The analysis provided by the authors in the article states the following:

  • The budgetary outlay for slums, particularly for WSS, is uncharacteristically inadequate and even in the given outlay, funds remain unspent and unutilised.
  • Meagre allocation of funds elude rational estimates based on proper planning and need assessment.
  • The implementing agency has no direct programme intervention in the slums.
  • Financial support for providing additional facilities such as other civic infrastructures, including sewerage and garbage disposals in JJ colonies, has not increased in the last five annual budgets.
  • The fund allocated for 11 plan has remained unutilised and is carried forward to the 12 plan.
  •  There exists a high degree of centralisation in planning, budgeting, and expenditure.
  • All schemes for Jhuggi-Jhopri Relocation Colonies (JJRCs) are selective adhoc interventions and are not included in the core planning agenda for the city.
  • Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board is only involved in the environmental development of JJ colonies and is unable to undertake any kind of work in many slums owing to the issue of ownership of land that belongs to private individuals.
  • The multiplicityof agencies handling different components of WSS has lead to a lack of accountability in the system.
  • There is lack of coordination within the implementing agencies and so is a shortage of sanitation staff , which would look after the maintenance of the system.

The paper concludes by stating the following:

  • There is a need for a comprehensive agenda for the overall development of slums through a time-barred mission should be formulated with higher allocations of funds for the overall development of water and sanitation facilities in the city.
  • It is necessary to have an improved governance structure and processes at the institutional level so that significant policy benefits reach end-users/beneficiaries.
  • The issues such as lack of decentralised planning, centralised budgeting, shortage of human resources and poor convergence among implementing agencies need to be surmounted for the smooth implementation of programmes and schemes.
  • There is a need to look at other macro issues such as land tenure rights, livelihood options, and education and health facilities in slum colonies whose redress may make water and sanitation schemes little more than just adhoc interventions.

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