The slum population has increased from 5.23 crore in 2001 to 6.55 crore, government on Wednesday told the Lok Sabha, citing the latest census figures.
38 per cent of slums are in big cities, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said.
Naidu, who was quoting the figures of 2011 census, said 57 per cent of the slums have access to drinking water and 37 have common, not individual, drainage.
Electricity supply is not an issue as people ensure the public representatives provide them with power connections, he said.
He said the slums have been categorised into three categories: notified, recognised but not notified and identified slums which are neither recognised nor notified.
Responding to questions, he said it was difficult to evict those occupying land belonging to Defence Ministry and Railways because of difference of opinion among various departments of the government.
He said central government departments are not ready to give up their land under encroachment as they feel it will create a precedent.
Naidu said he has held a “preliminary” meeting with central agencies and officials of Defence Ministry and Railways on the encroached land. The departments are of the view that if they allow the encroachers to occupy their land it will create a precedent. “It is not easy…,” he said.
He also said there were suggestions that the land adjacent to railway lines be used to develop ‘vertical’ living space, but the idea is not practical.