The Indian Context

Migration, Gender and Right to the City

Since the 1970s, urbanisation across the globe has been shaped by corporate capital under the neo-liberal policies of the state. Cities are treated as consumer products with massive private investment in real estate, corporate and public infrastructure, entertainment facilities, and security, to promote corporate urban development. The urban poor, slum dwellers, and migrants are dispossessed as a result of urban restructuring and gentrification. This article evaluates women’s migration to urban areas, identifies exclusionary processes against migrants in cities, and suggests strategies for implementing the “right to the city” perspective.

Since the 1970s, the nature of urbanisation across the globe, including India, has been increasingly shaped by corporate capital under the neo-liberal policies of the state. Cities are treated as consumer products, with massive private investment in real estate and housing, malls, expressways, flyovers, waterfronts, sports and entertainment facilities, and policing and surveillance to promote corporate urban development. Urban amenities and services are privatised, and labour reforms are undertaken to benefit corporate capital. The urban poor, slum dwellers, and migrants (both male and female) are dispossessed as a result of urban restructuring and gentrification (Mayer 2012; Brenner and Schmid 2015; Hearne 2014). These exclusionary processes began in 1990 and are acute in Indian cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad (Banerjee-Guha 2002; Kundu and Saraswati 2012).

The central government started the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission in 2005—which was renamed as the Smart Cities Mission in 2015—with the primary aim of accelerating neo-liberal urbanisation policies to promote economic growth. This has also led to various urban protests and movements in different parts of India related to such issues as the restructuring of urban space, demolition of slums, displacement, and the relocation and privatisation of urban amenities. In a remarkable development in Delhi, a new political party called the Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) (Party of Common People) came to power by winning almost all the seats in the Delhi state legislative assembly in 2015. TheAAP was supported by the urban poor, workers in the informal sector, slum dwellers, transporters, and migrants.

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Updated On : 11th Oct, 2017

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