ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Safe and Inclusive Cities

Pointers towards a Research Agenda

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Violence was a prominent theme in several plenaries and parallel sessions at the Habitat III (United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development) held in Quito, Ecuador, in 2016. Policymakers across the world are clearly concerned about how rapid urbanisation appears to be accompanied by a rise in violence, particularly against the poor, women and children. The fundamental premise of these debates was that inclusion in the growing markets on the one hand and strengthening policing methods on the other will eventually lead to better cities. Violence in many of these debates was conceptualised and measured through national crime records which cover murders, assaults, rapes, violent robberies, riots, acts of terror, etc. Likewise, exclusion was understood primarily in terms of access to basic services and means of consumption. How does India fare on this spectrum? Crime rate in India is in the low zone: at 87 per 1,00,000 population it compares with countries like Lebanon (59), Yemen (67) and Kazakhstan (96). Even when the under-reporting of crimes, poor policing, etc, are accounted for, this makes for a low crime rate.

India does not figure very high among countries which experience entrenched protests, some of which turn violent, besides frequent acts of terror and warfare in the cities. Consider how, when Venezuela announced demonetisation of 77% of the currency in circulation there were violent protests leading to several deaths, forcing the government to withdraw the move. In comparison, even when 86% of the currency in circulation was recently withdrawn, India hardly experienced any protest. Going by these measures, India would have no reason to be concerned about violence.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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