Mumbai: Slums represent the face of urban
poverty and the sprawling divide that exists in cities,
President Pratibha Patil on Friday said, voicing concern over
increasing number of ghettos in the country.
Addressing the `Nagar Ratna Awards` ceremony here,
organised by the All India Institute of Local Self Government,
she pointed out that the population of slum dwellers in Indian
cities had increased from 26 million in 1981 to 62 million in
The slum dwellers were placed at the lower rung of the
society, Patil said adding, "Every citizen should have access
to livable habitats and basic amenities like water and
The President also called for active participation of
women in planning and development process in the urban local
"Women should be actively drawn into the planning and
development process in the urban local bodies," she said.
Patil also expressed happiness over women constituting 36
per cent of the elected members in urban bodies, which is
proposed to be increased to 50 per cent.
Stating that India has a predominantly young population
Patil said, "The future of the country depends on how well we
prepare our youth to take on responsibilities."
She said increasing urbanisation and the high population
growth rate in towns and cities had put infrastructure and
services under severe strain.
The President called for proper implementation and
regular monitoring of special programmes for the welfare of
the marginalised and disadvantaged like the Jawaharlal Nehru
National Urban Renewal Mission.
On e-governance technologies, she said it can be
harnessed for providing better services and facilities.
This will enable better communication systems, better
data and information systems, quicker processing of the data
and resultantly better delivery and monitoring mechanisms.