World Habitat Day 2020 | 06 Oct 2020

Why in News

The United Nations has designated the first Monday of October every year as World Habitat Day (5th October 2020).

Key Points

  • About the Day: It focuses on the state of human settlements and people’s right to sufficient shelter.
    • It also aims to remind people that they are responsible for the habitat of future generations.
    • The Global Observance of World Habitat Day 2020, is being co-hosted by UN-Habitat and the Government of Indonesia.
      • UN-Habitat is a United Nations agency for Urban development that promotes sustainable human settlements.
    • World Habitat Day was first celebrated in 1986 with the theme “Shelter is My Right”.
      • Nairobi (Kenya) was the host city for the observance that year.
  • Theme: “Housing for All-A better Urban Future”.
    • The focus is to promote sustainable housing management to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 11.
      • Sustainable Development Goal 11 aims to make cities more inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.
  • Global Scenario:
    • Urban Population: Currently, around 55% of the world population is living in cities, and the number is growing every day.
    • Slum Dwellers: Around 1.8 billion people are still living in the slums.
    • Sanitation: Around 3 billion lack basic hand washing and sanitation facilities.
  • Indian Scenario:
    • Challenges: In a country of India’s size, diversity, and population, it is a staggering challenge to implement an ambitious urban agenda.
      • Lack of Basic Amenities: Drinking Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Housing Condition, there is a shortage in slum areas especially.
      • Public Health Infrastructure: Despite the huge growth in urban population density during the last two decades, there has been no commensurate improvement in the healthcare infrastructure.
      • High Level of Pollution: The growing rate of air pollution due to vehicular traffic and huge construction and demolitions waste increase morbidity amongst the people living the cities.
      • The large-scale migration from urban areas to the rural areas in the time of Covid-19 pandemic was a major challenge.
    • Measures:
      • Major flagship Missions such as Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban, the Smart Cities Mission, the AMRUT Mission were in implementation mode in India well before the SDGs were adopted by the other Member States.
      • Housing: There is a huge focus on the use of new and environmentally safe construction technologies and techniques. Through a global housing technology challenge (GHTC), the very best of national and international technologies are sought to be brought in.
        • GHTC aims to fast-track the construction of affordable housing and meet the target of constructing 1.2 crore houses by 2022.
        • GHTC focuses on identifying and mainstreaming proven demonstrable technologies for lighthouse projects and spotting potential future technologies for incubation and acceleration support through ASHA (Affordable Sustainable Housing Accelerators).
      • Urban Poor: The PM SVANidhi scheme targeting the street vendors who were affected by the lockdown that was imposed.
        • A collateral free working capital of Rs.10,000 is made available to the street vendors immediately by the participating banks.
        • Simultaneously, they are being brought on to the formal economy and the formal, digital banking ecosystem.
      • National urban policy framework 2018 seeks to rebuild Indian cities around clusters of human capital, instead of considering them simply as an agglomeration of land use.

Way Forward

  • Creation of a Database of Migrant Workers: Recognition and identification of migrants is the first step towards a more enhanced framework to provide basic amenities.
  • Addressing Challenges: The central and state governments need to continue their efforts to address the informality of the Indian economy, the rural-urban divide, the uneven growth within states and between regions in the country, and the social and economic inequalities associated with the poorest and vulnerable.
  • Unorganised Worker Index Number Cards by the Labour Ministry would also help in formalisation of the workforce.
  • Focusing on Public Health Infrastructure: Smart cities project does well by focusing on creation of hard infrastructure for urban renewal.