This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by IndiaSpend. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

The Reason 900 Million Indians Are Forced To Live In Homes With 2 Rooms Or Less

More from IndiaSpend

By Abhishek Waghmare, IndiaSpend.com:

Degal Srimangar Sao, 26, or Vijay as he calls himself.

For 10 years, Degal Srimangar Sao, 26, has been sleeping in the corridor of a central Mumbai commercial complex, where he delivers tea every two hours to busy corporate employees.

Vijay, as he prefers to be called in Mumbai, is from Kharkatto, a village of 300 homes and 1,765 people—nearly 1,800 km northeast of Mumbai—in Hazaribagh district in the Gangetic-plains Hindi-heartland state of Jharkhand. His nine-member extended family—seven without Vijay and elder brother Puran, who also lives in a Mumbai office corridor—live in a three-room house.

Like Vijay, about 900 million Indians, or nearly 75% of India’s households—with an average family size of five— live in two rooms or less, according to the latest data released by the government in June 2016.

Of 900 million people living in two rooms or less, 630 million, or more than half of all households, live in rural areas, with 262 million, or 20%, in urban. There does not appear to be a correlation between income and the size of homes, with some of India’s poorer states boasting larger homes than richer states and vice versa.

No more than 106 million urban households, or 9% of all Indian households, live in homes with more than three rooms. About 185 million Indians in rural areas, or 15% of all Indian households, live in houses with three or more rooms.

The data on average size of rooms is not available with the Census of India.

Kerala Has India’s Largest Homes

The people of Kerala—India’s 7th-richest by per capita income—live in India’s largest homes.

As many as 79% of rural households and 84% of the urban population in Kerala live in houses with more than three rooms, data from the 2014 baseline survey for Sample Registration System of the Census of India show.

Source: Baseline Survey for Sample Registration Survey, Census of India.

Kerala is followed by J&K and Assam—21st and 27th in terms of per capita income—with 66% and 34% rural, and 60% and 45% of urban population, respectively, living in, relatively, larger houses.

Jharkhand, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are the only states among the 23 big states for which the data has been released where more than half of all families live in two-room houses, both in rural and urban areas.

Source: Baseline Survey for Sample Registration Survey, Census of India

Vijay stays away from his family, wife, children and parents, except for an annual two-week visit home. Seven members of his family stay in a three-room kutcha house (mud house) in their village, which he detests.

He is not sure whether he is really ‘content’ in Mumbai or with his home. “Pasand ka sawaal nahi hai saab; karna padta hai (There is no question of me liking it, I have to do it),” said Vijay.

Source: Baseline Survey for Sample Registration Survey, Census of India; figures in %

In Tamil Nadu, Bihar and West Bengal, 48%, 44% and 43% of the population, respectively, lives in one room or no room, which could mean they are homeless.

Source: Baseline Survey for Sample Registration Survey, Census of India.

Last year, along with his brother Puran, who also works in Mumbai, Vijay started building a ‘pucca’ (brick-cement-mortar) house for his family in his Jharkhand village; two rooms are complete.



Source: Baseline Survey for Sample Registration Survey, Census of India; figures in %

To complete the renovation of his mud house, Vijay needs to keep earning money and holding down expenses. “Mumbai mein raho to har mahina paisa bhej sakte hai, aur kharcha bahut kam ho jata hai (If you stay in Mumbai, you can send money home every month and expenses are low).”

Urban Maharashtra Has The Smallest Houses

Of India’s states, Maharashtra has the highest proportion of urban population that is homeless or lives in one room: Half.

Maharashtra also has the maximum proportion of “urban slum units” (blocks of population living in slums), with 53% of all homes in slums, largely due to the slums that proliferate in the Mumbai metropolitan region, home to about 19 million people.

With 43% of its urban population living in one room or homeless, Tamil Nadu follows Maharashtra; West Bengal is next with 38% homeless or in one-room homes.

Vijay is one of those who represents Maharashtra’s cramped urban conditions: He lives in the corridors of a commercial building to maximise his earning and minimise his expenses, as many of India’s 360 million migrants [1] do. In June 2016, IndiaSpend explored how this economic imperative played out with migrants forced out of their traditional homes.

Although Vijay’s village is not short of water and his father ploughs the land every monsoon and regularly reaps a paddy crop, it isn’t enough for the family. So, Vijay lives in Mumbai, sleeps in a corridor and, slowly, rebuilds the family home.

“In two years, my five-room pucca (brick-cement-mortar) home will be built,” said Vijay. “My father will be able to sleep in his own room, for the first time.”

The Sample Registration System
 

In addition to a decadal census, when it visits every home, hamlet, village, town and city, the Census also carries out an annual Sample Registration System (SRS), with a pre-decided sample that represents the population at large. 1964-65. The SRS, conducted since 1964-65, mainly records the birth rate, death rate, infant mortality and fertility rates to keep a running record of developments.

 

The sample used for these surveys is updated every ten years (this period may change marginally), and was last updated in 2014 and is called the Baseline Survey, which asks chosen households for details of their life, such as household size and access to water and sanitation.

 

The baseline survey of 2014 sampled 8,861 ‘units’ (meaning one “census enumeration block”, typically a village in rural areas or a mohalla, or neighbourhood, in urban areas) with about 2,000 people in rural areas and 600 to 800 in urban areas, and covered 1.7 million households and a population of about eight million. [2]

 

Notes

[1] About 30% of Indian population migrates every year for various reasons, according to the 2001 Census data on migration. We have considered the same proportion for 2011, as the latest data on migration has not been released.

[2] From an email communication with the office of the Registrar General Of India

(Waghmare is an analyst with IndiaSpend.)

This article was originally published on IndiaSpend.com, a data-driven and public-interest journalism non-profit.

You must be to comment.

More from IndiaSpend

Similar Posts

By Youth Action Hub- India (Delhi)

By Guriya Mishra

By Saumya Jyotsna

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below