Statement by National Coalition for Inclusive and Sustainable Urbanisation (NCU)

The National Coalition for Inclusive and Sustainable Urbanisation (NCU) unequivocally condemns the unconstitutional and anti-constitutional CAA-NPR-NRC being unilaterally imposed by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. The NCU is a network of activists, researchers, urban practitioners, lawyers, informal sector workers, collectives and individuals who, for the past two years have been involved with issues of urban class and caste inequalities and is continually monitoring this acutely dangerous social condition in our cities. Therefore, are working for an alternative paradigm of urbanization. These inequalities are brought to light when basic rights such as the right to housing, participation in governance mechanisms, right to livelihood and most importantly, equal right to the city, are denied to the urban poor.

India has been going through tumultuous times. The massive inequities in Indian cities are best highlighted by a recent Oxfam report. Shockingly, just 63 billionaires have more money than the entire budget of the government of India. This disparity is mirrored in asset holdings in cities. The difference between the top 10 per cent and the bottom ten per cent is 50,000 times in Indian cities! This is further accentuated by the huge informality that exists in urban India-93 per cent.This exposes the extreme vulnerabilities faced by urban population.

These inequities have become especially starker since 2014, because of the NDA government’s anti-people and anti-poor policies, which have imposed untold hardships on all marginalised sections of society, especially Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims,Women and Minorities. The constituent members of the NCU have been at the forefront in trying to combat the adverse consequences of these myopic policies across the length and breadth of the nation. Some of the more visible issues include inaccessible education, denial of housing and other essential public services, illegal evictions under the false pretence of constructing world class cities and through the government’s flagship programmes such as the Smart City Initiative,Swachh Bharat Mission, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation etc. All of these collectively target only certain classes, castes and minority communities. These issues are even more starkly felt in numerous cities in Jammu & Kashmir and the North-East, where the NDA’s unconstitutional mandates, norms and repressive practices have further accentuated these problems. These policies cumulatively impinge upon our right to the city, which a recent high court judgment held as a fundamental right.

The NDA’s brazen threat to impose the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the National Register of Citizens and the National Population Register (CAA-NRC-NPR) despite widespread opposition, including from 11 state governments further exacerbates the problems faced by the urban poor.

We at the NCU are deeply concerned that the CAA-NRC-NPR will directly target unorganised sector workers, homeless people, migrant workers, basti dwellers, transgender persons. For example, the enumeration process of the proposed NRC-NPR will adversely impact the 1.77 million homeless people in India. Furthermore, our own surveys in just five states (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu) reveal that on average, 99 per cent of all homeless people do not have their own birth certificates, which in the context of NRC-NPR-CAA becomes a dangerous proposition. Moreover, 30 percent of urban homeless population do not have any identity proof. Similarly, there are a number of Nomadic and De-Notified Tribes, as well as migrants driven by rural distress who do not possess and will not be able to furnish the requisite documentation that the NRC-NPR process will undoubtedly expect.

The NCU firmly believes that the burden of proof of citizenship should not fall on citizens but on the State. In other words, the government cannot begin with the assumption that “everyone living in India is an illegal immigrant until proven otherwise”. This is patently unconstitutional and violates the inalienable rights of millions of Indians.

In these perilous times, seeing the imminent danger to the urban poor, which includes more than 6.5 crore slum dwellers, 93 per cent of India’s labour force which is in the informal sector, and innumerable other vulnerable groups, it is vital to express solidarity with these groups, and stand steadfastly with them in this time of uncertainty. Therefore, we as urban practitioners and concerned citizens of India unequivocally reject the CAA-NRC-NPR and extend solidarity with millions of conscientious Indians who are courageously opposing it in various forms.
Signatories,

  1. A G Krishna Menon Urban Planner
  2. Aashima Sood Urban Scholar
  3. Abdul Shakeel  Housing Right Activist
  4. Abhishek Pandey  Urban Practitioner
  5. Aditya Singh  Architect and Development Professional
  6. Adrian D Cruz Urban Researcher
  7. Ajay Kumar Upadhyay Social Activist and Journalist
  8. Akriti Bhatia Labour rights Activist and Urban Researcher
  9. Amrita Sharma Urban Practicioner
  10. Anand Lakhan Housing Right Activist
  11. Anirudh Singh Rajput Urban Practitioner
  12. Ankit Jha Urban Activist
  13. Aravind Unni Urban Researcher and Activist
  14. Aseem Mishra Urban Planner
  15. Ashok Bhattacharya Mayor, Siliguri and Former Minister Urban Development
  16. Bhargav Oza Urban Researcher
  17. Bhashwati Sengupta,  Urban Practitioner
  18. Bhawna Jaimini Research Associate
  19. Chandan Kumar Working People’s Charter
  20. Chandana Das Urban Practitioner
  21. Chirashree Ghosh Child Rights Activist
  22. Darshini Mahadevia Urban Researcher
  23. Devashish   Devashish
  24. Dinesh Abrol Chairman, Gurgaon Water Forum
  25. Dinesh Mishra Child Rights Activist
  26. Dipani Sutaria Ecologist
  27. Divya Verma Urban Practicioner
  28. Dunu Roy Social Activist
  29. Evita Das Urban Researcher
  30. Gaurav Mittal Urban Researcher
  31. Gaurav Varshney Architect
  32. Gautam Bhan  Housing Rights Activist
  33. Gayatri Singh  Senior Advocate, Human Rights Activist
  34. Gitanjali Prasad Social Worker
  35. Harikrishnan S Urban Researcher
  36. Harsh Mander Social Activist
  37. Hemant Kumar Research Fellow
  38. Ibtesam Arzoo Junior Research Fellow, JNU
  39. Indivar Jonnalagadd Urban Researcher
  40. Indu Prakash Singh Activist
  41. Indupriya M  Architect
  42. Jammu Anand Municipal Corporation Employess Union
  43. Kabir Ali Zia Choudhary Advocate and Housing Rights Activist
  44. Kranti L C Human Rights Activist
  45. Krishnkant Social Activist
  46. Ksheeraja Padmanabhan,   Architect
  47. Madhuri Sharma Architect Student
  48. Manish  Lawyer and Researcher
  49. Mathew Idiculla Urban Researcher
  50. Mukta Naik Urban Researcher
  51. Natasha Maru,  PhD Researcher and Consultant
  52. Nazifa Ahmed Nazifa Ahmed, Researcher, Assam
  53. Nehal, Vaidhy Pediatrician
  54. Nian Paul Urban researcher
  55. Nipun Prabhakar Architect
  56. Nishant  Researcher
  57. Ojas Shetty Urban Practitioner
  58. Pradip Krishen Environmental Activist and Film-Maker
  59. Puneet Bansal  Architect
  60. Rafi Malek  Urban Researcher
  61. Rahul N Urban Researcher
  62. Rajendra Ravi  Social Activist
  63. Rajni Former Mayor, Dharamshala
  64. RajpalSingh Rana Waster Pickers Union, Nashik
  65. Rakshan Khan  Architect
  66. Renu Desai Urban Researchr
  67. Romi Khosla Urban Planner
  68. Ruchika Lall Urban Practitioner
  69.  Rutul Joshi  Urban Planner and academician
  70. S. Bharat Urban Researcher
  71. Sachidanand Sinha Professor, JNU
  72.  Sahil Harjai Architect
  73. Sameer Development Professional
  74. Sanjay Chauhan Former Mayor, Shimla
  75. Satwika Taduri  Architect
  76. Sayan Das  Public Health Researcher
  77. Shaktiman Ghosh National Hawkers Federation
  78. Shalaka Researcher and Consultant
  79. Shama Fathima Urban Researcher
  80. Shruti Nikhar Architect
  81. Shweta Damle Housing Rights Activist
  82. Sindhu Nagaraj Architect
  83. Sohail Hashmi Heritage Activist, Writer and Film-Maker
  84. Sonakshi Aggarwal Labour Sector Practitioner
  85. Sonu P Yadav Urban Practitioner
  86. Sudeshna Sengupta Consultant and Researcher
  87. Sudhir Kumar Katiyar Centre for Labour Research and Action
  88. Sukrit Nagpal Urban Researcher
  89. Tapas Upadhyay Architect
  90. Tikender Singh Panwar  Former Deputy Mayor, Shimla
  91. Uma Dey Sarkar Urban Researcher
  92. Vanshika Singh Urban Researcher
  93. Varsha Vidhya Vilas Social Activist
  94. Vibhawari Verma Researcher and Student

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