Department of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology of the RWTH Aachen University

Informality in Hyderabad/India

Squatter Area

Hyderabad, the capital of the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, is one of India’s fast-growing metropolises and according to the Census the population in its urban agglomeration amounted to 5.8 million inhabitants in 2001. By 2011, when the results of the latest Census will be published, it will have far exceeded the 6 million mark.As in many developing countries the city’s administration cannot keep up with this fast growth and is not able to provide work, living space, infrastructure and basic amenities to huge parts of its population. As a result many people are forced into informality and its various manifestations.

Slums in Hyderabad

Squatter Area in Hyderabad

In 2001 the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation counted more than 1600 slums with a total population of more than 600.000 within its area. Many of these slum dwellers are migrants, coming from rural areas, whose first objective is to find any kind of shelter in the city, so they squat on free land, ignoring land tenure and construct houses out of temporal material. The provision of basic amenities like water supply and sanitation in these settlements is abysmal causing the appearance of water borne diseases like diarrhea and cholera. In 1956 the government of Andhra Pradesh already reacted by passing the Slum Improvement Act and since then has implemented various programs with the objective to provide better living conditions, basic infrastructure and security of tenure to slum dwellers. But given the fact of ever rising land prices and competing interests many of them face the threat of eviction and resettlement.

Informal Processes

Woman creating some income

Another important aspect of informality is the economy’s informal sector. In India often referred to as the unorganized sector its primary objective is to create employment and income to the persons concerned. Among them are street vendors, rickshaw pullers, servants, owners of little workshops etc. It is estimated that more than 90% of the Indian workforce belong to the informal sector soP. Acknowledging their economical importance the Government of India has implemented several schemes to provide social security to the workers in the informal sector.

Using up Cow Dung for Combustible

Informal Work, Using up Cow Dung for Combustible

Other forms of informality surge where there is no official regulation/legislation or where it is not enforced. For example many Indian cities lack an organized solid waste management, leading to informal agreements and strategies of coping with the accruing amount of waste.

Kilian Christ
Kilian Christ, PhD Student, RWTH Aachen University, Department of Engineering Geology and Hydrogeology, christ@lih.rwth-aachen.de See all posts from Kilian Christ

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