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A report on slum census shows that access to drinking water and electricity has improved in slum areas in cities, reports Down to Earth.

The magazine quoted the report—Housing stock, Amenities and Assets in slums based on House-listing & House Census, 2011—released by housing and poverty alleviation minister Ajay Maken on March 21 as stating that most houses in slum areas were getting electricity, tap water and that more than half the slum households had drinking water facility in their premises. But there are a significant number of households that still do not have access to toilets and defecate in the open. The minister said that the data will help in formulating better policies for the urban poor.

The data shows that 71 per cent of the total slum households are mainly located in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The report says there are 19 cities with a million plus of population where more than one-fourth population resides in slums. Of these 19 cities, more than 40 per cent of slum households are located in five cities—Visakhapatnam, Jabalpur, Mumbai, Vijayawada and Meerut.

The report states that more than 70 per cent of slum-households are owned, while the rest are mostly rented. Nearly, 58.4 per cent houses are in good condition whereas only 4 per cent houses are in dilapidated condition. The report also states that nearly 57 per cent of slum households have drinking water facility within their premises whereas 74 per cent households are accessing tap as main source of drinking water.

Another highlight of the report relates to access to electricity. It says that 90 per cent of slum households are accessing electricity as the main source of lighting. Less than one per cent of households have no lighting facility whereas nearly eight per cent households use kerosene for lighting.

The report also reveals that more than half of slum dwellers avail banking services in slum areas; 70 per cent have televisions and 19 per cent posses radio/transistors.

According to survey report, only 10.4 per cent households have computer facility. Of them, only 3.3 per cent have Internet connection as against 9.3 per cent in non-slum areas.

Mobile connectivity is quite high in slum colonies—63.5 per cent of households have mobile phones as against 83.9 per cent in non-slum areas.