URBAN POOR

In the bylanes of Swatantrapalya, hundreds of BPL families live struggling to make both ends meet. Pic: Akshatha M In our previous story on welfare schemes for the poor, we narrated the difficulties that below poverty line (BPL) families face in availing these. A majority of the people we spoke to said they were unaware of most schemes, others said they cannot really put their time and effort in running around government offices to get the schemes sanctioned. The general notion among those belonging to the economically weaker sections is that one needs to make multiple visits to the government…

Read more

The Central and State governments announce new schemes and programmes for the benefit of the poor every year, but how many of these schemes reach the bottom of the pyramid in reality? According to a news report, in August 2016, the Karnataka government changed the rules for BPL card holders, reducing the number of eligibility conditions to be fulfilled for obtaining the card from 14 to just four. According to estimates the total number of BPL card holders in the state today is 90 lakh. The new rule with simplified guidelines for considering a family as BPL may have helped…

Read more

Bengaluru, my new home, continues to surprise me every day with its idiosyncrasies. I am slowly falling in love with this place, and that is in spite of the traffic. Alright, you ask, why this sudden exhortation and public display of affection? Well, because I have just found one more reason to fall in love with the city and its people. When you see a kid begging at a traffic signal or a homeless old lady sitting on the sidewalk asking for money, what do you do? Aren’t you torn between whipping out your wallet and also doubting whether this…

Read more

File photo. Pic:Christopher Martin Lopaze As the month of fasting—Ramzaan, draws to a close, a sense of humility serenades me. Ramzaan is a month when one is called upon to abstain from not just food, but anything that corrupts the mind and soul. However, when one goes without food and water for 14+ hours a day for 30 days, in the least, it reminds one how blessed we are to be able to afford a basic meal. It is 'hunger' that teaches one the value of 'food'. About a month ago, over a quiet meal, my husband Manivannan and I…

Read more

They don't go to theatres to watch cinema. They can save no money with the earnings they make. They have many occupation-related health issues, yet their medical expense is just about 12,000 per annum! This is the fate of finances /revealed by a recent survey on garment workers. Garment and Textile Workers Union (GATWU) is an independent trade union of garment workers in Karnataka. Centre for Workers Management (CWM) is a research organisation working on issues of labour standards and labour rights in the formal and informal sector in India. Both these organisations worked together to do a study on…

Read more

Man-hole cleaning. Pic: Thamate Munuswamy, hailing from Dharmapuri district in Tamil Nadu, and Jagannatha, hailing from Chittor district in Andhra Pradesh, died due to asphyxiation from lack of oxygen and an excess of methane gas while cleaning up a 15-foot man-hole in Doddaballapur on April 3rd 2016. They were working for a Hyderabad-based contractor firm, Raus Construction Pvt. Ltd., who had signed an agreement with the Doddaballapur Municipal Commissioner for providing the under-ground draining system in Doddaballapur. Seeing Munuswamy and Jagannatha suffocate, two youngsters from Doddaballapur, Madhu, a garment worker and Muniraju, an aquarium worker, tried to rescue them but…

Read more

It’s a tiny single-room house nestled among similar dingy structures in a slum locality in Mangammanapalya. The house is located close to Hosur Road, which was an epicentre of garment workers' protests that took Bengaluru by storm when the Central government notified rules for Employee Provident Fund (EPF) restricting withdrawal of the PF till the age of 58. A cot placed on one side of the room occupies half the available space. On another corner is an old TV, the only source of entertainment. There is an open utensil washing-cum-bathing space at one end of the room and a kitchen…

Read more

Naziah sitting in her house, narrating her story. Pic: Kabir Khan My mother left me in Bengaluru under the care of my uncle. He worked in a Government office. Later, he asked my family to move to Bengaluru as there were more employment opportunities in the city. He managed to get us a hut to stay. My family shifted here but we didn’t have any money for food. I was seven or eight years old then—the eldest among all my siblings. We picked vegetables from riverside and sold it for Rs 7 or 8, with which I purchased dal (pulses) and…

Read more

In the first part of the series Loans for poor in Bengaluru, we explored how the system of loan from informal sources with high interest rates is pushing the poor deeper into poverty. The second part explored the system of bank loans for poor, to see whether it benefits the poor who don’t have securities. In the third part, we examine how micro-finance institutions function, and what do poor people feel about it. Mariyal, a 33-year-old domestic worker living in Ejipura slum in Bengaluru, has taken a Micro Finance Institution (MFI) loan for the first time. She has borrowed Rs…

Read more

The first part of the series LOANS FOR URBAN POOR IN BENGALURU explained how the urban poor living in the slums of Bengaluru get trapped in the circle of borrowing, paying interest and re-borrowing. In this part, the author explores the reason behind the same—why banks do not help the poor—how complicated the process is. Sunil, a slum dweller in Swatantrapalya, wants to buy an auto. He needs a loan badly. Not keen on lending money from local moneylenders for extra interest, he wants to secure a bank loan. However, he doesn’t have any collateral security to offer to the…

Read more