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Ravinder S.Sandhu, India

From: Comments on ongoing debate
Category: Category 2
Date: 28 Mar 2000
Time: 10:21:56
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Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2000 19:48:12 -0800 (PST) From: Ranvinder Sandhu <> Subject: contribution to E-Conference To:

I am sending my brief comments for the on going debate.

I agree with those who consider that major difficulties in developing adequate urban policy lays in insufficient analysis of role in urban development of actors other than the state or utilities. Especially in developed societies perception of ruling elite about the urban poor (who constitute majority) is biased. This is because of existing socio-economic and political situation, under which large number of people play only negligible or peripheral role in the planning process and decision making. In societies where about one half of the population live below poverty line and a large proportion of population can be categorized as poor on one hand and on other hand the planners and administrators (who dominate in policy formation and its implementation) have unrealistic and insensitive attitude towards the growing needs of poor in growing cities. Majority of them still considers slums and squatter settlements as cancerous growth of a city and these areas are studied in isolation as areas of darkness and despair. The poor are totally dependent on the state for their welfare. If the state has some interest in their welfare then their condition can be improved, other wise their conditions remains the same. The past performance of many states is discouraging. The over all impression is that the state has tended to produce and reproduce poverty, rather than reduce it. It is well known fact that the poor/slumdweller isn't marginal to the society but integrated into it on terms detrimental to his interest. He is not socially marginal,but rejected,not economically marginal but repressed.

The theoretical, methodological and technical tools are important in making analysis and an excellent policy can be formulated on the basis of scientific analysis. But there is always gap between policy and action, therefore, many policies remain only on the paper because ruling elite is not interested in their implementation .Once the policy is formulated, it is of no value to any one unless it is implemented. For implementation, there is a need of political will of the state, which majority of the developing societies is lacking. Because, such states are insulated from society, people and poverty and protect the rich legally and physically in their exploitation of the poor. K coit feels that political aspect is not just one parameter but a new dimension which is usually tabooed. For successful poverty alleviation policy, there is need to understand the type and scope of state relationship with the society.In this regard,it is important to seek answers to the questions as to: why particular phenomenon occurred in first place and indeed why specific Government reactions evolved in the way they did? How power and subsequent allocation of resources between classes are made? Why are decisions made in the way they are, who benefits and who suffers from these decisions?

Ranvinder Singh Sandhu Professor of Sociology, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar 143005, India

Last changed: March 13, 2002