Citywide Slum Upgrading Plan (CSUP) for the Heritage City of Agra (India)



Approval Date
Proposal Focus
Core Focus
Secondary Cities
Country Type
Lesson Learned for Cities Alliance Members and Partners
Agra city is changing. It is rebranding itself as a listening and caring city by being open-ended and engaged and by accepting the need and providing for, home toilets by networking or decentralizing solutions. The efforts of CURE under the CA funded initiative have created an enabling environment for in-situ and sustainable slum upgrading in Agra. Funds have been leveraged through three DPRs for slum upgrading works. While understanding and capacities for slum development are growing, it is still uncertain and dodgy. CURE has learnt following lessons in implementing CSUP. ? Community Processes need time and required skills: Partnership with communities is very critical and complex and requires sufficient time for meaningful community participation, starting from the very inception of the project to the much-needed handholding during implementation phase. Community processes need to be understood and designed to hear people’s need and issues and include them in the planning and implementation of solutions. ? Un-think Service Delivery: In-situ slum upgrading and development will need to break away from traditional approaches to infrastructure provisioning and think out of the box to provide service solutions. Non-conventional and decentralised engineering solutions can be used where conventional systems are not feasible. Communities should have the option of choosing from a broad menu of solutions. Solutions also must be simplified and customised as per the needs of the poor and should be affordable to avoid indebtedness. ? Slums are an integral part of the city and can be connected to the city’s trunk infrastructure by networking. Planning for slum development as a sub-set of the city shall be unsustainable. The poor should be supported with capital resources for ensuring last mile connectivity to city networks. ? Informalization of the Formal: The existing governance systems are both rigid and hard to navigate, especially by the poor who lack formal skills and incur high opportunity costs in the process. The existing systems need to be simplified and infomalized in accordance with the informal nature of slum communities and people. Policies and laws that prevent the poor from gaining access to basic services need to be reviewed and modified. The approach to slum development should be in incremental to avoid indebtedness in the poor. It should allow people to invest in their housing as per their affordability and requirements by granting land tenure and not de-jure rights. ? Poor can help get the right data. They must be involved in data generation. This shall ensure reliable demand and financial estimation. A system of monitoring should also be developed with clear output and indicators to oversee achievements under RAY funded projects. ? The approach to slum development should be comprehensive and connect all upgrading and development components for real poverty reduction.


Agra is a global tourist destination, and offers huge potential for developing a strong and broad-based tourism-centric city economy. The road-blocks to realising this potential include the city’s poor sanitary conditions and unplanned developments that have inhibited realisation of the development prospects. The situation is exacerbated by a high slum concentration and lack of concerted action to improve the environmental conditions in these settlements on a citywide scale to make Agra both tourist and people friendly. The proposal aims to use the two slum upgrading initiatives that the city has been working on over the past three years -- Cross-cutting Agra Programme (CAP) and Cities Alliance (CA) support to the city of Agra (CDS) -- for the implementation of a City Development Plan (CDP), prepared under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), as a stepping-stone for developing a citywide slum upgrading plan.
Key objectives of the reform-linked Citywide Slum Upgrading Plan (CSUP) for Agra are as follows: 1.) Formulate an inclusive and integrated Citywide Slum Upgrading Plan; 2) Create an enabling environment for urban poverty and sector reforms to contribute to the planned implementation of slum upgrading on a citywide basis; 3.) Strengthen local institutions and their capacities to design and implement participatory slum upgrading projects.
1.) Develop a citywide slum upgrading plan in synergy with the slum upgrading strategy and the CDP Agra; 2.) Recommend an upgrading strategy for each slum settlement based on situation analysis in the settlement including its legal status, level of services and environment, quality of housing stock, preferences of the community and its willingness and ability to pay, among other things, drawing on the CA knowledge base on successful global practices; 3.) Prepare an inclusive citywide slum upgrading plan, and a prioritised and phased road map for its implementation, adopting a consultative approach involving various stakeholders including Agra Municipal Corporation (ANN), District Urban Development Authority (DUDA), Agra Development Authority, public utilities, social welfare departments and the community, including youth groups; 4.) Facilitate the process of restructuring municipal norms for service delivery in the poor communities and for housing the poor; 5.) Assess the slum upgrading needs in terms of infrastructure and social services, and improvement of existing/development of new slum housing; based on revised norms, estimate the investment requirements and prepare a resource mobilisation plan focusing on use of grants and loans to leverage local resources for citywide slum upgrading including local revenues and beneficiary contributions; 6.) Develop local capacity -- ANN, DUDA, Project Implementation Unit (PIU) -- for the development of inclusive Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for housing and slum upgrading, and review these within a human rights framework for equitable access to services; 7.) Support the preparation of various city-level inclusive policies for delivery of services so as to seamlessly link in with the citywide slum upgrading plan; and 8.) Initiate the formation/strengthening of partnerships with other local agencies, private sector, civil society for inclusive planning and implementation of slum upgrading actions and governance reforms.
Expected Impacts and Results
Key outcomes of the project include: a.) Significant reduction in poverty level of 2,000 poorest households, participating in the demonstration component, through slum upgrading works and livelihood interventions through the project. An additional 10% of the poor benefit from physical infrastructure provisions by the ANN facilitated through the project. Furthermore, nearly 30% poor become aware of their rights to municipal and social services through the Ward consultations.  b.) Increase in enrolment, retention and learning achievements among children from upgraded settlements. c.) Reduction in sanitation and water-based illnesses in upgraded settlements and at the Ward level; significant reduction in health costs among poor families. d.) Sustainable mechanisms for participatory planning /implementation within ANN. e.) A strengthened and reform oriented PIU, with capability for inclusive/integrated slum upgrading planning/ implementation in the city. f.) Private sector contributions to slum upgrading.