Recently Lokniti has been engaged in a study, Slums, States and Citizens: Policing, Welfare Services and Political Participation among Urban Poor in Delhi, Nairobi and Durban. It aims to contribute to a better understanding of how marginalized groups such as the urban poor are included and /or excluded from welfare, security and political representation of the state thereby adding to the ongoing international debate about aid, poverty, democracy, citizenship and state society relations. In addition to focus on the urban poor, the said study deals with groups often ignored in state politics and statistics.
Lokniti had conducted the field work in December 2012 with the sample size of 2185 respondents spread across Delhi.
There are some interesting conclusions that can be drawn from the preliminary analysis of the Delhi slum survey data with respect to the three rubrics of urban amenities and welfare, safety and security and political participation in the slums. The data suggests that the urban poor utilize services by the state and see them as providers of security and welfare services and channels for political representation. Also, as far as the slum population is concerned, there seems to be very little difference between men and women in their opinions and relation to the state. Where the state provision is lacking, the slum dwellers seem to be willing to meet the gap with their own initiative. There also seems to be a level of prioritizing in the slums. For example, the urban poor are willing to pay for additional water in the slums but expect the government to address the problem of sanitation and security.
All in all, the study suggests that the state has a very important role to play in India when it comes to the economic, social or political welfare of the urban poor.