"The homeless are the people who live in the endemic disaster situation. There is a need for the government to realise that when it talks of social empowerment, they have to collectively consider every section of the society including the homeless, Sinha said."
New Delhi, June 20 - There was an urgent need for state governments to frame policies to provide shelter, food and other basic public services to homeless people, experts said here Friday.

The experts emphasised that while sustaining cities with their cheap labour, urban homeless people live desperately hard lives with no social protection.

Speaking at the launch of a book titled Shelter for the urban homeless, they said courage, fortitude and sheer enterprise that allow homeless people to survive on streets were not recognised or channelised.

The book suggests guidelines for state governments and municipal bodies for a national programme for shelters and other services for urban homeless. At present, a total of 78.48 million homeless people live in India.

Though the stakeholders involved towards settlement of the homeless citizens are playing a vital role, the government is still far behind from doing anything for such citizens, said Harsh Mander, special commissioner to the Supreme Court for the right to food.

He said housing plans for the homeless people were framed on paper, but the plans were yet to be implemented.

It is the vulnerable homeless female who face the crime such as sexual assault and social abuse regularly just because there is no proper policy set by the government to ensure the social protection of the homeless, Mander said.

Shanta Sinha, former chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, said: Despite the homeless citizens being integral part of the country, they are denied the basic rights and therefore future of their children gets affected in the worst manner.

The homeless are the people who live in the endemic disaster situation. There is a need for the government to realise that when it talks of social empowerment, they have to collectively consider every section of the society including the homeless, Sinha said.

Sandeep Chachra, executive director of ActionAid and national advisor on homeless to the Supreme Court, said: Though NGOs and stakeholders are doing there best to re-settle the homeless, the state governments do not pay heed in adhering to the same level of standard while building shelter homes for the homeless, which is making the problem more serious.


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