Prelims level : Governance- G3 Policies Mains level : GS2K - Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
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  • Government authorities, at both the central and state levels, demolished over 53,700 homes, thereby forcefully evicting more than 260,000 (2.6 lakh) people across urban and rural India, including the homeless

Major Findings:

  • Forced evictions occurred across urban and rural areas – in cities, towns, and villages.
  • They took place for a range of reasons and under various guises, including: ‘city beautification’ projects, mega events, and interventions aimed at creating ‘slum-free cities’; infrastructure and ostensible ‘development’ projects; forest and wildlife protection; and, disaster management efforts.
  • In most of the reported eviction cases, state authorities did not follow due process established by national and international standards.
  • In the majority of cases, the state has not provided resettlement; where provided, resettlement is largely inadequate. Forced evictions are thus contributing to a rise in homelessness.
  • All cases of forced eviction resulted in multiple, and often gross, human rights violations.
  • Through these acts of eviction and demolition of homes, central and state government authorities have violated national and international laws, policies, guidelines, and schemes.
  • Thousands of families across India are currently threatened with the risk of eviction and displacement.

City Beautification’ Projects:

  • Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN) an NGO, finds that the highest percentage of reported evictions (99 of 213 cases) were carried out for ‘slum4 clearance’ drives and ‘city beautification’ projects. The notion of the state that ‘city beautification’ implies removing the poor from cities reflects an alarming prejudice and discrimination against the country’s most marginalized populations.
  • It also indicates the criminalisation of poverty.

Separate law:

  • The authorities in India, instead of seeking to evict a large number of the urban poor before implementing development projects, can adopt a new kind of social compact with the community concerned and real estate developers. Examples in Colombia and Argentina where local governments came together with private real estate developers and the respective communities for improving housing for slum dwellers. the urban poor were provided with better houses at the same place where they were living ear­lier while a portion of the land was released for re­development.
  • Resettlement policy
    • India did not have a resettlement policy,
    • Separate law on evictions on the lines of one in South Africa.


  • Recognize and uphold the human right to adequate housing, which includes security of tenure and the right to freedom from forced evictions, of all residents of India.
  • Take immediate measures towards restitution of human rights of all affected persons by providing adequate resettlement, rehabilitation, and compensation; restoring homes, livelihoods, basic services, and education; and, enabling return to original sites of residence, where possible. Grant compensation to all affected persons, based on human rights assessments and criteria, for all losses—material and non-material—and damage incurred during the eviction/relocation process. Investigate incidents of forced eviction and take punitive action against those found guilty of violating the law and human rights.


  • Unless concerted efforts are adopted by both the central and state governments to incorporate a strong human rights approach in the conceptualization and implementation of schemes, the targets of ‘housing for all’ will continue to remain mere rhetoric.
  • It is only through the respect, protection, and fulfilment of the human rights of the urban and rural poor to their lands and homes, that India’s housing crisis can be resolved.
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