The President said that in the next 40 years, India is projected to witness the highest rise in urban population in the world and it is ‘worrisome’ that our city structures are struggling to keep pace.
As visible sign of systemic inadequacies, slums and homelessness pose considerable challenges for policymakers, Mukherjee said.
He said that there are an estimated 93 million slum dwellers in our country, with an urban housing shortage of nearly 18 million. But he added that the challenges confronting our cities are daunting, yet surmountable.
The President was speaking at an event where he presented awards for year 2012-13 to states and cities for their performance in different categories under the flagship schemes of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) ministry.
Pranab Mukherjee said that the traditional income and consumption parameters are inadequate to fully capture the nature of deprivation and called for a vulnerability-based approach spanning the three key areas - residential, occupational and social - to combat poverty.
He appreciated the work done under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rozgar Yojana (SJSRY), the National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM) and Rajiv Awas Yojana is geared to address residential, occupational and social vulnerabilities.
He said that between 2000 and 2010, nearly 200 million people have been lifted out of slums, of which India accounts for thirty percent. He hoped that measures being taken will enable us to move towards a slum free India.
In her speech HUPA minister Girija Vyas highlighted the work done by her ministry.

In her address, Vyas said that under the sub-missions of JnNURM, more than 1.5 million dwelling units have been sanctioned to the urban poor throughout the country with expected approximate initial cost of Rs 42,000 crore to social housing and basic services.
She said that the Planning Commission has allocated Rs 32,230 crore for implementation of Rajiv Awas Yojana during the 12th Five Year Plan.
She said that a balanced Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2013 will bring transparency and protect consumers' rights. "The attempt is to bring a legislation which is friendly to all."

She also mentioned the Street Vendors Bill had been passed by the Lok Sabha and hoped that the Rajya Sabha will give it a nod in the next session.
Among the cities which won the awards - Vishakhapatnam, Ahmedabad and Durg received the awards for best cities under Basic Services to the Urban Poor (BSUP) and Interest Subsidy Scheme for Housing the Urban Poor (IHSDP) amongst Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in Large States and UTs.
Sonamura in Tripura and Jiribam in Manipur received awards for being the Best Cities in implementation of IHSDP for ULBs in Small and Special Category States and UTs.     

Thiruvanantapuram and Thane jointly shared awards for Best Community Mobilization efforts under BSUP and IHSDP. Thiruvanthapuram was also adjudged the Best City for use of Cost Effective Building Technology in construction of Houses under JNNURM while Chandigarh got the award for Best City for Planned Habitat for Urban Poor.
Ajmer was named the Best City for Outstanding efforts for Preparation of Slum-Free City Plan of Action and Pilot Projects under Rajiv Awas Yojana.

Vishakhapatnam got the award for the best city in effective enforcement of 3 pro-poor reforms. Amongst the states, Mizoram got the award for best performing state under JnNURM in North East and Special Category States and Union Territories (UTs) and Karnataka got the award for the best
performing state under JnNURM in amongst large states and UTs.
Tamil Nadu received the award for the best state in effective enforcement of three pro-poor reforms under JnNURM.
Among large states and UTs, Andhra-Pradesh received the award for the best state for promoting community organisations, Bihar got the award for the best state for Skill Training of Urban Poor.

Odisha got the award for the best state for providing self-employment to urban poor and amongst the small states and Union Territories and Mizoram got the award for best state for overall performance.
Under JnNURM, the awards for the cities comprised a trophy, a letter of appreciation and cash incentive of Rs 3 lakh and for the states a trophy, a letter of appreciation and cash incentive of Rs 5 lakhs.


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