In India, 5.41 per cent of the total population and 17.37% of the urban population live in slums. Containing disease outbreaks in overcrowded slums, which are inhabited by economically vulnerable population, is highly difficult. Yet, Dharavi, the largest slum in Asia, has succeeded in curbing the COVID-19 spread through a series of innovative measures despite the challenges, making it one of the success stories of COVID-19 containment.
Water is the most valuable natural resource as it is essential for human survival and life on earth. However, the availability of fresh water for human consumption is highly under stress because of a variety of factors. This crisis of water scarcity is most visible in India as well as other developing countries.
Housing is one of the basic requirements of human survival. Normal citizen owning a house provides significant economic and social security status in society. For a shelter-less person, a house with basic necessity brings about a profound change in his existence, endowing him with an identity, thus integrating him with his immediate social milieu. With this in mind, the government had launched Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana in 2015 to provide housing for all by 2022. Numerous challenges are faced by the government while undertaking this momentous scheme. These need to be addressed for this vision to be implemented within the deadline.
Smart Cities Mission is a step taken by the Indian government to provide a better lifestyle and amenities to the people. It is considered to be a key player in the direction of comprehensively developing physical, institutional, social and economic infrastructure of the cities, that are all important in improving the quality of life and attracting people and investments to the city, thereby setting in motion a virtuous cycle of growth and development. Four years since its launch, there is no doubt that expectation will continue to be high. Technically, only one more year is left but a large number of projects are still under implementation. It is facing numerous challenges and these need to be addressed for this programme to yield the intended benefit.
A few years back, Beijing and Delhi were competing with each other for being some of the most polluted cities in the world. Between 2000 and 2009, Beijing was far worse than Delhi in terms of air pollution. However, in recent years, the air quality of Beijing began improving while Delhi’s pollution levels continued to increase. In 2017, the concentration of PM 2.5 (particulate matter with a size of 2.5 microns or less) in Beijing was less than half that of Delhi. The number of “very unhealthy” days in Delhi is four times more than that of Beijing. The reason behind Beijing’s successful reduction of atmospheric pollution is due to the series of stringent measures to reduce the carbon emission into the atmosphere. One among them is the focus on the automobile sector. In 2017, the quota for new vehicles was fixed at 150,000 cars of which 60,000 was allotted only to the fuel-efficient cars. In 2018, this quota was reduced to 100,000. Although an average Indian contributes only a microscopic amount of transport-related carbon dioxide emissions to the global climate change, congested streets and polluted air are common aspects seen in the Indian metropolises. It is not only discomforting on a daily basis but is also a long-term health hazard to those who are living in big cities like Delhi.