The urban poor in Mumbai play critical roles in providing services and subsidizing the cost of living. However, they have been the first ones to be sacrificed at the altar of development in this era of globalization. The drive to make Mumbai equal to Shanghai was given shape in the Vision Mumbai plan by a multinational company McKinsey International at the request of an NGO Mumbai First, which was supported by industrialists, builders, politicians and bureaucrats. Needless to say, the development plan had no space for more that half the population that resides here.
It is ironical how the more the government speaks of economic growth, the more the poor find themselves dispossessed. The real estate market boom resulted in brutal and massive slum demolitions - on an unprecedented scale in 2004. The blatant violation of human rights of the dalits, minorities and women could not be ignored. This was the backdrop against which a collective struggle by people was started under the name of Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan. This is also a part of the National Alliance of People's Movements. It is a movement of slum dwellers, SRA affected and the unorganized sector workers. The main issue is not just a fight for housing - it is for development with justice and equity. It therefore fights corruption, malpractices and protests against accumulation of resources like land in the hands of a few.
The GBGB movement is currently dealing in those slums of Mumbai which have been demolished in or after 2004. It works with the affected community and inculcates leadership from within the community. It believes that right of housing is a basic human right and Government cannot deny it just on the basis of 'illegality'. It advocates the Constitution of India, fundamental rights and directive principles of state policy - which includes guaranteeing shelter and other basic services and right to livelihood. It believes in the framework of equity and justice which is required to be the basis for development planning as a whole and housing projects especially. Poor localities in urban areas need to be seen not as illegal encroachments but as service guilds.