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Key Indicators of Urban Slums in India

The National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has released the key indicators of urban slums in India, generated from the data collected in its 69th round survey during July 2012 to December 2012.
Slums are part of urban environment and they are identified by the presence of features of living conditions that are undesirable viz. overcrowding, lack of hygiene and sanitation, inadequacy of drinking water, and poor construction, etc. Any compact settlement with a collection of poorly built tenements, mostly of temporary nature, crowded together, usually with inadequate sanitary and drinking water facilities in unhygienic conditions, provided at least 20 households lived there, was considered a slum for the survey.  Such a settlement, if not a notified slum, was called a non-notified slum. Both  notified slums i.e. areas notified as slums by the concerned municipalities, corporations, local bodies or development authorities and other slums were covered in the survey.
The number of slums, the number of slum-dwelling households, and the proportions of slums having access to specific facilities that are known to be absent in many slums have been estimated from the data for States and all India. The survey covered the entire urban area of the country. The key indicators are based on the central sample, surveyed by officials of NSSO, consisting of 3832 urban blocks spread over all States and Union Territories. At the all-India level, a total of 881 slums were surveyed in these urban blocks.
The ‘Key Indicators of Urban Slums’ presents estimates in respect of notified/non-notified slums for all-India (based on all surveyed slums) and for States where the number of notified/non-notified slums surveyed was 10 or more, provided the total number of slums surveyed in the State was 20 or more. Following this principle, separate Statewise indicators are presented for the States of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
Some of the salient findings from the report of the NSSO are as follows:


  • A total of 33,510 slums were estimated to be present in the urban areas of India. About 41% of these were notified and 59% non-notified. (Annex-I).
  • Maharashtra, with an estimated 7723 slums, accounted for about 23% of all slums in urban India, followed by Andhra Pradesh, accounting for 13.5%, and West Bengal, which had a share of about 12%.
  • Of the 19,749 non-notified slums estimated to exist in urban India, Maharashtra accounted for about 29%, West Bengal for about 14%, and Gujarat for about 10%.
  • Out of an estimated 13,761 notified slums in urban India, Andhra Pradesh had about 23%, Maharashtra about 14%, and Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu about 9% each.


  • An estimated 8.8 million households lived in urban slums, about 5.6 million in notified and 3.2 million in non-notified slums. (Annex-I)
  • The notified slums formed 41% of all slums but housed 63% of all slum-dwelling households in India.
  • As many as 38% of slum households of urban India were estimated to be living in Maharashtra, and 18% in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Of slum households in non-notified slums, 40% were estimated to be present in Maharashtra, and 9% each in Gujarat and West Bengal.


  • At the all-India level the average slum size was estimated at 263 households. The average notified slum had 404 households and the average non-notified slum had only 165. (Annex-II)
  • For notified and non-notified slums taken together, average slum size was highest in Maharashtra (433), followed by Karnataka (392) and Andhra Pradesh (352).
  • State-level average slum sizes of notified slums varied widely. For Maharashtra the average was over 1000 households whereas for Chhattisgarh, it was only 84.
  • About 56% of slums in the million-plus cities and 58% of those in other urban areas had less than 150 households.
  • About three-quarters of non-notified slums (77% in the million-plus cities and 74% in other urban areas) had less than 150 households. About 40% of the notified slums, both in million–plus cities and also in other urban areas, had 150-450 households.


  • At all-India level 44% of slums – 48% of notified slums and 41% of non-notified slums – were located on private land.
  • In about 60% of all slums, the majority of houses had pucca structures. The proportion of such slums was 85% among notified slums but only 42% of non-notified slums.
  • At the all-India level 71% of all slums had tap as major source of drinking water, the figure being 82% for notified slums but only 64% for non-notified slums.
  • The phenomenon of absence of electricity in slums appeared to be largely confined to non-notified slums. At all-India level only 6.5% of all slums had no electricity – the corresponding figures being 11% for non-notified slums but only 0.1% for notified slums.
  • In about 66% of all slums, the road within the slum used by the dwellers as main thoroughfare was a pucca road. The proportion was 83% for notified slums and 55% for non-notified slums.
  • At the all-India level 31% of slums had no latrine facility, the figure being 42% for non-notified and 16% for notified slums.
  • About 31% of all slums had no drainage facility – the figure being considerably higher for non-notified slums (45%) than for notified slums (11%).
  • At the all-India level, 27% of all slums had no garbage disposal arrangement – the figures being about 38% for non-notified slums and about 11% for notified slums.
  • In an estimated 32% of all slums, the approach road to the slum usually remained waterlogged due to rainfall. The figure was 35% for notified slums and 29% for non-notified slums.
  • At the all-India level 24% of slums benefited from welfare schemes such as Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY), or any other scheme run by the Central Government or State Government or any local body.  The proportion benefiting from such schemes was 32% among notified and 18% among non-notified slums.
The estimates of percentage of slums reporting improvement and deterioration in some facilities during the last 5 years were generated. For five of these facilities, the estimated percentage of slums reporting improvement in the facility and the percentage reporting deterioration are shown in Annex-III.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

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