What is a slum?
The word slum appeared in London slang at the beginning of the 19th century,designating initially a room of low repute or low,unfrequented parts of the town. The word then underwent a series of changes during the Housing Reform Movement in England. It took a legal and technical acceptation to designate a house materially unfit for human habitation and became a common word in the 1880s.
In India,under Section-3 of the Slum Areas Improvement and Clearance Act,1956,slums have been defined as mainly those residential areas where dwellings are in any respect unfit for human habitation by reasons of dilapidation,overcrowding,faulty designs of buildings,narrowness of streets,lack of ventilation,sanitation facilities or any combination of these factors which are detrimental to safety,health and morals.
Last week,Census 2011 came out with data on housing stock,amenities and assets in slums,which said 68 million Indians or one in six residents in urban India lives in a slum.