Press Release: SCI-FI initiative at CPR Signs MoU with Government of Odisha

28 September 2020

"The Scaling City Institutions for India (SCI-FI) initiative at the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) announces the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Housing & Urban Development (HUDD), Government of Odisha (GoO) to support the efforts of the next phase of Jaga Mission to enable slum upgradation to achieve Slum Free Odisha as Knowledge Partner."

Delhi, Monday, 28 September 2020: The Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi under its initiative ‘Scaling City Institutions for India: Land Planning and Housing (SCI-FI: LPH)’ is pleased to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on September 28, 2020 with the Housing & Urban Development Department, Government of Odisha. 

Through this ground breaking partnership, SCI-FI: LPH, as the knowledge partner, will support the JAGA Mission in its second phase to help with systematic planning for “slum freeing” and “slum proofing” and will collaborate to undertake pilots and support scaling up of this programme. It will also document the learnings from the entire process for other states and cities across the country. This project is supported by the Omidyar Network India. This endeavour will aim to integrate the urban poor settlements into the city fabric by upgradation of basic facilities and services and move towards progressive realisation of the JAGA Mission’s broader vision of a Liveable Habitat for all.

During the signing, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Odisha, Shri Naveen Patnaik said, “The Government of Odisha has always strived to safeguard the rights and improve the quality of life of the poor and the marginalised people in the state. When faced with the daunting and global challenge of urban poverty we made a similar choice – we could either continue treating slum dwellers as encroachers; OR we could empower them with land rights, improve their living conditions and break forever the cycle of indignity and deprivation. Today, it gives me great pleasure to launch the next phase of JAGA Mission – aimed at upgradation of slums enabling access to basic civic services. The process shall start immediately in 1000 slums and will scale up to cover all the slums across 114 urban local bodies in the state.”

Speaking on the partnership, Principal Secretary, HUDD (GoO), Shri G. Mathi Vathanan, said, “Recognising the crucial role played by slum dwellers in building and sustaining our cities, the Government of Odisha, on 7th May, 2018, launched the JAGA Mission with the noble and ambitious aim of transforming slums into liveable habitats through a combination of land rights and a comprehensive slum improvement process. After having distributed land rights certificates to over 58,000 families and land entitlement certificates to over 105,000 families, JAGA Mission is now moving to its next stage of transforming slums to liveable habitats. As a first step, a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has been prepared in partnership with the Centre for Policy Research (CPR), Delhi to guide the urban local bodies and slum dwellers associations in the process of de-listing of slums through the creation of necessary infrastructure and bringing the slums at par with the rest of the city. This mainstreaming of slums with the rest of the city will be the foundation of a humane, just and inclusive city development paradigm - not just as an idea, but in actual practice.”

According to Shri Sangramjit Nayak, DMA, HUDD (GoO), & Mission Director, Jaga Mission, “Odisha Land Rights to Slum Dwellers Act, 2017 & Jaga Mission is unique not just in what it has embarked upon doing, but also in how it does it. The operating procedure developed for implementing the initiative involves a unique combination of state-of-the-art technological interventions, such as high resolution mapping of slums using drones, together with time tested participatory and community mobilization approaches using grassroots organizations and associations of slum dwellers. I am happy that to realise the sustainable transformation of slums into liveable habitats, a 'Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Slum Upgrading and Delisting in Odisha is being launched. The SOP intends to benefit the key stakeholders by undertaking a primary infrastructure needs assessment and subsequently bridging the identified gaps through a slum upgradation process.”

Ms Yamini Aiyer, President & Chief Executive Officer, Centre for Policy Research (CPR), mentioned “This is a landmark initiative taken up by Odisha and we are very honoured to be part of this programme. Slum upgradation initiative is very timely and will have far-reaching impacts in shaping the urban poverty alleviation agenda for time to come”.

Commenting on SCI-FI CPR’s commitment to determining a demand-driven, sustainable, alternative, scalable models for delivering and operationalising access to land, planning & housing for the urban poor in India Shubhagato Dasgupta, Senior Fellow, CPR and SCI-FI Programme Director said “We at CPR and SCI-FI are delighted and privileged to be supporting the Jaga Mission and the Government of Odisha in furthering this noble objective. Since 2013, we have been closely working with HUDD, Government of Odisha on a range of innovative solutions including sanitation and FSM. As part of SCI-FI: LPH initiative, we aim to understand better the intersection of governance and scale in the Indian urbanising landscape with sector specific social and economic characteristics. This partnership will help us better understand and bridge the gaps between land, planning and housing to develop new models that provide better outcomes for the urban poor. Signing this partnership is consistent with our desire to advance research and policy action in the areas of urbanisation, property rights, housing and public services for the urban poor in India.”

As a first step under this MoU, a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has been prepared for Slum Upgradation and Delisting. The SOP is formally launched via videoconferencing with remarks by the Honourable Chief Minister, Government of Odisha on Monday, September 28, 2020. By adopting this SOP the Government of Odisha, has bridged a key gap in national and state policy on housing options for the urban poor, by introducing “slum upgrading”, i.e. statewide upgradation of basic infrastructure in slums to bring the slum neighbourhood infrastructure at par with the rest of the city. The land rights and entitlement exercise along with the slum upgradation exercise will allow the delisting of slums in the city and bring the poorer neighbourhoods within the city planning and governance process, statewide. 

This event also demonstrates the continuous efforts of the Government of Odisha in ushering growth-oriented and inclusive reforms in diverse socio-economic spheres. Through this SOP, the government aims to lay down the specific steps to foster community participation, by involving slum residents and slum dwellers associations in planning, implementation/ monitoring by setting out new decentralised decision-making processes within the urban governance framework. This SOP will lay the foundation for further affirmative actions with respect to improved tenure security, housing and adequate access to basic services, thereby promoting the overarching objective of achieving slum-free and slum-proof cities in Odisha.

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