Whereas the large scale private investments in industry, business, commerce, housing and real estate, make the metropolitan and other large sized cities the engines of economic growth thereby creating wealth, jobs, income and services, the public investments in infrastructure, services and utilities facilitate the above, support populations and make cities liveable. Both are on the increase in the Indian cities.
Though decisive in their influence and impact on the quality of living environment and efficiency and productivity of a city, very little is known and analysed as to what they do to the city, especially its poor.In order to understand the cities, their functioning and development dynamics better, INHAF has undertaken the Investment Watch activity in Pune and Jaipur. It focuses on exploring the impact of the public and the private investments on the living and working conditions of the poor: both positive and negative, direct and indirect. It seeks to comprehend the ways the investments impact on the prospects for employment, wages and incomes and overall working of the informal sector businesses and services, as also the quality of the living environment in the form of shelter, housing, infrastructure, social services, safety, security and citizenship. It also attempts to understand investment / development that makes living and working difficult for the city poor in form of constraints to access to land, higher prices and rents;demolitions of shelter and settlements; evictions of businesses; a higher level of protection money, corruption and charges for the services, and affordability in capital investment and instalments when formal housing comes their way.
The aim is to understand how the investments influence city development as a whole, what direction they are moving the cities and how the poor benefiting are and losing in the process. Designed as a pilot and seen as an advocacy tool to argue the case for a better balanced, pro-poor and under-developed-area sensitive city development, the emphasis is on methodology development and coalition building for sustained monitoring and advocacy action. Building and improving the information base and data management for better planning, decision-making, coordination and governance are the key objectives. The purpose of Investment Watch is to contribute to thinking, strategy formation, policy and plans for poverty reduction in general and improving a quality of living and working environment for the poor in particular. The idea is to bring the matter in the public domain; argue the poor’s case with the investors for better targeted, better delivered and better impacting investment, and developing effective, reliable and participatory methodology for the work. The field work in Jaipur is carried out by an NGO, Labour Education Society assisted by Hazards Centre, Delhi and Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics is the project partner in Pune.