`Housing & Health Facility for Urban Poor’ a study by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) estimates that additional 500 urban health and family welfare centers are needed to be put up.

`Housing & Health Facility for Urban Poor’ a study by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) estimates that additional 500 urban health and family welfare centers are needed to be put up to provide basic housing and health facilities to about 190 million Urban Poor, which still slog to obtain these facilities at times when a significant part of Urban India is spending between   Rs.30 to Rs.40 lakhs for per dwelling unit .

Further it estimates that a meager investment of Rs. 700 crore calls for providing low-cost housing to urban poor for which budgetary allocations for fiscal 2008-09 could be made out of with stronger political will.  The basis for investment has been calculated, excluding land cost on the premises that each low-cost housing unit for urban poor could be provided for a cost of over Rs.1.5 lakh. The land should be provided for such dwelling units by the state government with virtually at 100% subsidy element.

Mr. Venugopal N. Dhoot, the ASSOCHAM President, said additional 500 urban health and family welfare centers to cater to requirements of health and family affairs of urban poor, a minimum of Rs. 500 crore are required for which the allocations should come forward from central budget for fiscal 2008-09, added Mr. Dhoot.

He pointed out urban India has currently about 1150 Family Welfare Centres in 2006-07 which take care of 2,50,000 urban patients against the norms of serving to approx. 70,000 patients only.  These centres will require a qualified medical and nursing staff of over 30,000 to effectively serve and treat the urban poor for their medical ailments.  Currently, 40-45% urban poor are living in slums or squatter settlements. The balance population lives under bridges and flyovers, pavements, overcrowded tenements etc.

The government had allocated over Rs.8000 lakhs in 2006-07 for the urban family welfare centers, which was totally inadequate in view of rising urban slums population, and should be enhanced to suggest ceiling of Rs. 500 crore in the 2008-09 budget.

According to ASSOCHAM, the population of urban dwellers would exceed 225 million urban poor by 2015 from 190 million now. The states in which the urban poor population would grow mani-fold include Andhra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu  as these states have been recording growth in urban poor with a percentage of over 30. Family welfare centers are hardly provided for urban poor and those that are in place have neither doctors nor nurses and other supporting staff.

Some of the other findings include that over 80,000 babies die in the first month of life, half of India’s urban poor children are underweight, one out of every 10 children born during the year is not destined to see their 5th/6th birthday and out of 10, 3 children are affected with diarrhea, malaria and other diseases.

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