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Enumeratig the Semi-Visible: The Politics of Regularising Delhi's Unauthorised Colonies

Author(s): ANNA ZIMMER

Source: Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 47, No. 30 (JULY 28, 2012), pp. 89-97
Published by: Economic and Political Weekly
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Enumerating the Semi-Visible

The Politics of Regularising Delhi's Unauthorised Colonies


1 Introduction
While unplanned colonies retain a negative image for
mo say that Delhi is a heterogeneous and rather divided
most city planners, pragmatic reasons favourtheir
city is not new. Indeed, the divide between formal and
regularisation. A large number of Delhi's residents live in
J. informal residential areas within the urban space has
such unauthorised colonies, most of which are now
been problematised in depth,1 as the informal production of
being regularised. But just how many people,urban
and what
space has increasingly been recognised as playing a
large role
changes forthem through regularisation? This process in the making of India's capital when compared to
formal development (Benjamin 2005b: 245; Dupont 2004:
does not come without preconditions, spelled out
311; Water Aid India 2005: 27-31). Consequently a large
through an emphasis on self-enumeration as number
well asof
Delhi's inhabitants face the label of informality, or
mandatory formation of resident welfare associations
even illegality.
The effects on the inhabitants of unauthorised colonies
during the application for legal status. Analysing these
(uacs) can be most importantly identified as different forms of
procedures, this article argues that greater inclusiveness
exclusion. There is a large literature on the negative impact of
is offered only to those who adhere to a new themeaning ofinfrastructure provision in informal housing
gap in public
citizenship, focusing on residents' active andarrangements
financial in Delhi, but equally in other Indian cities
(among others Ahmad and Choi 2011; Ali 2003; Batra 2005;
participation in development and governance.
Dupont 2005; gnctd 2006; Selbach 2009; Singh 2009; un
Habitat 2008; Zimmer 2011a). More importantly, residents of
informal areas (together with a large informal workforce) are
often marginalised in terms of decision-making processes, as
urban debates and participatory procedures are dominated by
powerful middle class resident welfare associations (rwas)
(Chakrabarti 2008; Harriss 2010; Kundu 2011; Tawa Lama
Rewal 2007; Zerah 2009; Zimmer 2011a). Moreover, the "right

to the city" (Lefebvre 2009) of informalised populations is

increasingly infringed upon through discourses on world-class
development, the displacement of economic activities, as well
as renewed slum demolitions (Ahmad 2011; Batra and Mehra
2008; Chaturvedi 2010; Ghertner 2010b; Hazards Centre 2005;
Jervis Read 2010; Kundu 2009; Mehra 2011; unesco and csh
forthcoming). The provision of basic urban services, inclusion
in decision-making processes and a more overarching right
to the city are all understood to be major entitlements linked
to urban citizenship. Withholding these entitlements from
residents of informal settlements raises therefore strong
questions about the inclusiveness of citizenship in urban
societies (Kabeer 2005).

These forms of social exclusion are predicated upon differ

ent (and differently structured) fields of visibility that frame
the approach to various types of urban settlements. The
state "sees" (Scott 1998) residents in informal settlements
differently from other citizens - if it chooses to see them at
all. In fact, the literature suggests that despite their large
numbers, informally living (or working) populations are

Economic & Political weekly EEE3 july 28, 2012 vol xlvii no 30 89

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(semi-)invisible (Black and Fawcett 2008: 36; Lemanski and

The first objective of this paper is therefore to use these regu
Tawa Lama-Rewal forthcoming: 11) to their governments, larisation applications to shed more light on unauthorised
and especially to the administration. A stark example ofcolonies
this in terms of their numbers, the number of their residents
administrative (and statistical) invisibility in India is the
and their locations. The politics of the regularisation drive is
fact that for example, slum residents were not enumerated
theinfocus of the second objective. In this context, the paper dis
the census until 2001. Slowly, however, this restricted cusses
view whether regularisation and the enhanced visibility that
seems to be changing. The existence of informal settlements
accompanies it is the way forward to reduce exclusion of infor
has been long acknowledged and now their residents are
malised residents and start closing the urban divide.
Besides the named documents, insights are based on 11
increasingly the focus of the authorities, mostly for reasons
of better governmental control (Zimmer 2011b). There is
an of fieldwork in an unauthorised colony between Feb
increasing interest in exact population figures - impossible to 2008 and December 2009.3 In total, 70 formal inter
avail till date - as well as Geographical Information Systems
views were conducted with residents over that period of time,
including several with members of four different rwas that
based mapping. For instance in Delhi, the shift of responsibil
ities for jhugghi-jhompri clusters from the municipal existed
slum in the area. Besides this, 12 interviews were conducted
and jj department to the state agency Delhi Urban Shelter
with representatives of the state, i e, the municipal councillor,
Improvement Board in 2010 was accompanied by the recogni
a former member of legislative assembly, as well as employees
tion of a need for a "detailed study" including a "fresh
of different administrative departments of the municipality
comprehensive socio-economic survey of all the jj clusters
as well as the gnctd. These interviews were accompanied by
in Delhi".2 More recently, unique identification numbers are informal interactions with residents, methods of
to be assigned to all Indian citizens, including residents of participatory appraisal, and ethnographic observations
informal settlements (Unique Identification Authorityinof the colony, as well as a review of grey on the regularisation
India 2011). of unauthorised colonies.
At the same time, residents of established informal settle The paper is structured into six sections. In next part, un
ments, too, have started striving for visibility. Unlike during authorised colonies are defined and the available data on
the years of settlement where invisibility might have been unauthorised colonies are discussed. Section 3 summarises the
beneficial, and thus welcome (Bayat 1997: 75-76; Benjamin debate around unauthorised colonies. The regularisation drive
2005a: 58-59), they increasingly seek the attention of the initiated in 2007 is presented in Section 4 and Section 5 analy
government. As one resident put it: "(this area) is a backward ses the politics around this process and the meaning of its
area that needs urgent eyes". Visibility, from residents' per emphasis on self-enumeration for urban citizenship. The paper
spective, is associated with allocation of funds, infrastructure, concludes with discussing whether regularisation leads to
and facilities; in short: with their definition of "development". more inclusiveness into urban society for the residents of
Furthermore, knowledge of the population totals might help unauthorised colonies.

residents establish claims for more meaningful political

participation as citizens. 2 Seeing the Semi-Visible: Definition of and Available
Data on Unauthorised Colonies
In this context of shifting relationships of "seeing", it is
crucial which kind of information is gathered, controlled, and The Delhi Development Authority defines uacs in Delhi as res
disseminated by whom. While the government is keen on idential areas "where no permission of (the) concerned agency
receiving data, it is not necessarily equally interested in has been obtained for approval of layout plan and/or building
publishing it. Against this background, this article focuses plan" (The Gazette of India 2008). Most of them are in fact lo
on data about those informal settlements which usually cated in violation to the master plan, or have come up on pri
receive less attention by scholars than so-called slums, or vate land that has been subdivided illegally. It also includes
jhuggi-jhompri clusters: Delhi's unauthorised colonies. Unau housing that has been built without respecting building by
thorised colonies have been the target of a regularisation laws (Baud et al 2010: 363; Dupont 2005: 317-18; Srirangan
drive since 2007 that aims to enumerate, locate, and if possi 2000:16). While residents have purchased their plots from the
ble legalise these settlements. This encompasses the juridical original landowner, most new owners therefore obtain only a
as well as the material regularisation of the colonies, i e, con power of attorney for a maximum of 99 years to attest the
ferring a legal status as well as upgrading the areas in terms transaction, and it is not possible to register a transfer of own
of public infrastructure (Bahr and Mertins 2000: 24). In the ership (Water Aid India 2005: 28). Where the power of attor
course of this regularisation drive, a large number of docu ney for the plot or house is entered at the registrar office, the
ments have been prepared by residents and presented to the stamp duty is minimal, amounting to around Rs 2,000-3,000.
Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (gnctd) uacs thus fall into the category of "semi-legal" settlements
Department of Urban Development (2one) in application (Bahr and Mertins 2000: 23), in contrast to other forms of ille
for regularisation. These application documents have now gal settlements where residents have no documents of land
been published online, allowing questions about unauthorised tenure at all.
colonies to be answered that until now have remained diffi But how many colonies, and how many people are affected
cult to address. by this definition? As early as 1961,118 uacs existed on Delhi's

90 July 28, 2012 vol xlvii no 30 0EE3 Economic & Political weekly

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Figure 1: Map of Delhi's Unauthorised Colonies while the smallest is of only 40 residents,6 the largest
houses an impressive 1,50,000 people.7 On average, a
Delhi - Unauthorised Colonies

uac has some 4,946 residents. Extrapolating to the

• Unauthorised Colony

Built-up Area
total number of uacs, this would mean that an
Green Space
Not Built-up Area astonishing 8.1 million people, or about 49% of
— Railway Line with Station Delhi's inhabitants live in uacs (gnctd Department
of Urban Development 2one).8
. .. Boundary of National Capital
Territory of Delhi
Obviously, these numbers have to be read with
caution. They constitute estimates, figures have
been noted down by residents themselves, and
there may be a certain interest in inflating num
bers. Also, in a number of cases it can be seen that
some uacs have applied twice for regularisation via
competing rwas, so that a number of residents
might have been counted twice. Furthermore, the
total figure is calculated on the basis of an average
as 57.5% of the colonies have not provided data on
population.9 Moreover, not all uacs have been able
to apply for regularisation: e g, south Delhi's afflu
ent farmhouses do not fall under the regularisation
drive, while others might not have been able to as
semble the required papers. The estimate might
therefore actually be still smaller than the real fig
ures. Nevertheless, these numbers represent the
best estimate available till date. They indicate that
Delhi is by and large an informal city - with jj clus
urban fringe (Jain 1990: 172). In 2008, the list of those uacs ters housing another estimated 2.1 million (dusib 2011)10 the
who had applied for regularisation indicated that at least 1,641total percentage of "informal" residents of the capital is as
such colonies existed in Delhi at this point of time.4 No mapsumed to be 64%. They thus constitute almost the absolute ma
has been published on the locations of uacs so far. With thejority of Delhiites. The figures clearly indicate that dreaming of
help of the aforementioned list and the Geographic Informaan orderly and planned capital city means deceiving oneself. It
tion System (gis) provided on the website of the Municipal is high time that political as well as administrative processes
Corporation of Delhi (no date), the majority of uacs whichacknowledge this fact.
have applied for regularisation has been identified and located
3 Unauthorised Colonies'
on the urban map (Figure 1). This process was fraught with
difficulties as spelling of colony names would differ between Perceived Role in the Urban Space
different lists and the gis application, and thus this map canUnauthorised colonies have been interpreted as a response to
only constitute a first attempt at visualising the informal the demand for housing by the lower-middle and working
urban landscape. classes that is not met on the formal market. Land develop
Despite shortcomings, the outcome of this exercise is advan ment policies in Delhi are restrictive and effectively exclude
tageous. It shows for the first time clearly the massive concen private development (Ahmad and Choi 2011: 80-81; Dupont
tration of uacs along the urbanised fringes, especially in 2005: 315-16). As a result, prices for land and housing are
Delhi's western parts. It is here that former agricultural land exorbitantly high in large parts of the capital. However, where
has been incorporated in a private manner into the urban area land is not classified as residential according to the master
- and the future of Delhi's remaining rural areas even furtherplan, land prices are much more accessible. This is the situa
west, south and north can be imagined. tion in which uacs have developed. In the investigated case
Until recently, however, not only the location, but also popuprices were less than 10% of those for plots in adjacent author
lation data on uacs were extremely vague. Estimates of the ised colonies. But this bargain comes at a price: First, the new
population of uacs in the literature vary therefore grossly owners are in fact only leasing their land, house or flat. Sec
between 0.5 and 3 million, or roughly 3-18%, of the population ond, without public infrastructure provision, residents of
of Delhi (Ali 2006: 435; Dupont 2005: 311; gnctd 2009:169; unauthorised colonies often have to invest in installing and
Water Aid India 2005:27).5 In early 2011, applications for uac's upgrading through private means. Only by acquiring voter
regularisation were uploaded on the department's website. identity cards, and thus a political identity as part of an elec
These included in a large number of cases an indication of the toral ward, will some form of public investment occur through
population of the particular residential area. The available the support of elected representatives. However, the use of
figures make it obvious that uacs are extremely heterogeneous:municipal councillors' and members of legislative assembly's

Economic & Political weekly [333 July 28, 2012 vol xlvii no 30 91

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funds is restricted in uacs, so that upgrading often happens in clusters or other forms of settlement without lease or owner

a piecemeal, unequal, and rather haphazard manner through ship and settlements of the (extremely) poor (Ghertner 2008;
a variety of funds and channels. Sharan 2006; Zimmer 2011a). They may even represent
Yet, this uneven infrastructural development of uacs has spaces of opportunities in terms of political gains and practi
also a positive side to it: heterogeneous colonies offer today a calities of housing provision. First, uacs hide and compensate
variety of spaces with differential price levels in close proxi for the fact that public housing activities have failed at a grand
mity (Benjamin 2005b: 252). Residents moreover highlight the scale. If more than half of Delhi's residents live in informal
benefit of a differential offer in terms of plot sizes that allowed housing the government faces a major crisis of legitimacy with
people of different economic background to purchase land. regards to its ability to provide (roti, kapda and makan)'3 for
The often mixed land use allows for a reduced amount of time its citizens. In this context, informal housing arrangements
spent travelling between homes and workplaces, helping to cre which provide at least relative security of tenure have lowered
ate localised, sometimes highly specialised, and densely knitted the pressure on government significantly (Bahr and Mertins
economies, as well as encouraging a bust of diverse activities 2000: 23). Second, a number of political opportunities arise.
to maintain urban livelihoods (also found in other types of in Local politicians might build vote banks by arranging for
formal areas, see Benjamin 2005a; Jervis Read 2010: 46). infrastructure and other benefits through informal channels.
The "regularisation" of such informal settlements, Benjamin Also, the government can benefit from an ex post regularisa
(2005b: 245) succinctly states, "is the dominant way cities are tion process, as support for this move helps building up a
built". Yet, the result of this process - the "unintended city" political constituency amongst uac residents (Benjamin
(Nandy 1998: 3) - is not easily accepted, and efforts by the 2005b: 247; Gazdar and Bux Mallah 2012).14 Third, uacs
government to bring Delhi's urbanisation process under control present the unique opportunity for the government to claim
have intensified rather than attenuated in the last years. From development charges for the retrofitting of settlements with
a point of view of urban planning these areas are inherently infrastructure. While costs for these undertakings in formal
flawed for being unplanned, and even in contradiction with colonies are included in property prices, infrastructure provi
the larger plan for the city. sion is nevertheless considered a prime responsibility of the
The ideal of the rational, planned city is obviously not only a state. In uacs however, infrastructure development can be
modern one. Yet, it gained new verve in the context of a inserted into a discourse of responsibility, i e, of cost-sharing
modern governmentality (Foucault 2007:19-20; Scott 1998:4). between the state and its citizens, inculcating a new under
Planning was thus considered "an instrument to achieve standing of citizenship while at the same time penalising the
progress" by the nationalists of independent India (Prakash illegalised residents (a point discussed in more detail below).
2002:4). As early as in 1957, the image of the planned city was While being labelled as informal and thus officially unwanted,
therefore objectified and institutionalised in Delhi's first mas uacs - and the votes, initiatives, or investments of their resi
ter plan (Legg 2006: 201). This plan was based on an "ideology dents - are therefore nevertheless coveted by the administra
of zoning" (Jervis Read 2010: 84)," separating different uses of tion as well as politicians.
the urban space, namely, residential, industrial, and recrea
tional. Because mixed land-use, however, was widespread, 4 Regularisation: Procedural Steps and Political Struggle
this plan created a wide gap between the orderly planned This ambiguous relationship between the state and uacs has
imagined city "as it should be" and the reality, grown out of led to the fact that uacs have enjoyed quite widespread, albeit
the "quiet encroachment of the ordinary" (Bayat 1997:1). tacit tolerance (Lemanski and Tawa Lama-Rewal forthcom
In contradiction to the defined zones, unauthorised colonies ing: 11). Around 786 colonies were legalised in Delhi in the
are in fact the antithesis of the master plan city: they represent 1960s and 1970s (Dupont 2005: 319-20), receiving the odd tag
a constant reminder of planning "failure" - or the failure to of "unauthorised-regularised colonies" (housing yet another
implement the plan and thus the lack of (sovereign) control 12.7% of the city's population, if this figure is more reliable
over the urban territory. This tension, impossible to overlook, than the one on uacs, see gnctd 2009:169). Since 2007, after
produces a kind of master plan angst amongst urban authorities. a gap of more than 30 years, a new round of regularisation is
The Delhi Development Authority (2006: i), for instance, in the on its way promoting the inclusion of uacs into the urban so
introduction to the Delhi Master Plan 2021, states that "[t]he cial and material fabric. For this purpose a separate cell has
choice is between either taking a road to indiscriminate uncon been created within the gnctd Department of Urban Develop
trolled development and slide towards chaos or a movement to ment (The Gazette of India 2008). The bureaucracy's move to
wards making Delhi a world-class city". The dichotomy pre regularise the uacs is depicted as an act of largesse, as the col
sented is between a loss of control described in apocalyptic onies are compared to "an illegitimate child (which) doesn't
terms, and a planned, supposedly bright future. It underlies the stop being a citizen of Delhi", as an interviewee in the Delhi
policy approach to unauthorised colonies,12 where uacs appear Secretariat who wished to remain anonymous put it. While
as potentially "risky" to the urban order and state control. earlier rounds of regularisation highlighted the aim of total
Yet the relationship between the government and unauth state control over the urban territory, the recent drive is differ
orised colonies is not straightforward, uacs have for example been ent in that it is based very prominently on the notion of part
considered less "dangerous" when compared to jhuggi-jhompri nership with uac residents, which we will return to, below.

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In 2008, guidelines for the regularisation process were Therefore,

pub even before the f
lished in the Gazette of India (2008). The cut-off date after which
sation has been supported b
colonies cannot apply for regularisation is 31 March 2002. public
The funds starting in th
guidelines propose the regularisation of uacs as far as these
indo Figure 2.
not consist of vacant plots on more than 50% of the area by 2007, these benefit
and are not inhabited by affluent sections of society. Further
been greeted with a very p
more, they can only be regularised if not built within notified have spent weeks and
or reserved forest areas, or in areas where right of way applies plot owners: names, plo
for railways, master plan roads, or main water and sewerage
numbers, information on wa
lines, or which are protected for archaeological reasons. validate their claims, they h
uacs also have to fulfil other preconditions: they haveelectricity
to bills, voter iden
register a residents' society or rwa which is then responsible
politicians or officials. Resid
for a number of tasks. The rwa then has to "liaise with the not exist already,17 got it re
Figure 2: Expenditure forthe Provision of Essential Services paper made. Their presiden
in Unauthorised Colonies (Million Rupees)
fying that they would abide
proved with or without con
charges and other charges "m
render land to the authori
amenities in conformity wit
India 2008). They also had t
ing to indemnify the local b
fitting against earthquakes
ings. Associations have pro
I 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 area of the colony in hectar
2001- 2002 2003- 2004- 2005- 2006- 2007- 2008- 2009- 2010
02 -03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 ated, the number of built-
Draft: A. Zimmer. Source: GNCTD cording to their
Planning Department sizes),
(2011). the o
concerned (The Gazette
as its agency"
of India 2008),
categorisation accordi
detailed layout plan with specified
the help the kind
of a certified of
architect, to compile a quired
list already.
of all Mostand
residents, import
to t
for the development of required layout plan, if
social infrastructure, made b
available. Also, and in ner.
contrast to investigated
In two the earlier roun
larisation (gnctd Department
Rs 56,000of Urban
for Developm
the first draft
residents of uacs demanded
now have to pay corrections, resi
land charges (if t
on public land), development charges
50,000 would plus a pen
be required for
amount of which depends
In this
on the
as many
of as
onies and the plot (gnctd
size.15 Department
On top of
of this, the Urba
then 1,218 colonies
regularised-unauthorised received
ownership with a pr
office will tion ain
demand paying 2008,duty
stamp a move that
which w
on the circle rate of the land, and
Congress is calculated
Party's at
election cam
value for female, and 8%theof the assembly
2009 value for elections
male leas
In exchange, residents can expect several
forthcoming, benefit
The Hindu 201
larisation: cussed
First, the value in the
of their media
plots, that
houses or the
to increase bleSecond,
significantly. for regularisation anyw
bank loans becom
for purchasing land
property in or in the vicinity of a
while property may 2010,
also Lemanski
be taken and Tawa
as a security L
of loans, something mal process
impossible thus
for remained
nally, an upgrading of 2010, the Municipal is
the infrastructure Corpora
place. The new legal status and infrastructural
the power d
of regularisation
are explicitly linked ruled Delhi
following the government to
Supreme Court
February 2006, which Hindu
stated 2010), but case
that "[i]n this the
ties are not in a question
position to makeofavailable
respect their
shall be nofunds
(...) for developme
regularisation of un
colonies" (Supreme Court the issue
of India, levying
cited de
in Dutta
Institute Charitable Trust was
2009: a bone
20).16 of order
This conten p
government from reapingcouncillors contested
cheap benefits ofcharge
an onl
regularisation simply (Times
for the of India 2011a),
purposes othe
of electoral

Economic & Political weekly nran july 28, 2012 vol xlvii no 30 93

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"indulging in an illegal act" (Indian Express 2011). Only indepartments in 2010 show that where the forest department
February 2011, the cabinet of Delhi government, on the sughas objected to the regularisation, the Government of India
gestion of a group of ministers, finalised the developmentand the Empowered Committee constituted by the Supreme
charges to be Rs 200/m2, a relatively modest amount. Yet,Court of India have to give clearance. Where the Archaeo
more than 100 resident welfare associations announced their
logical Survey of India (asi) has objected to the regularisation
protest against the decision under the leadership of the bjp of colonies, "an amendment in the asi Act to empower a
(Times of India 2011b). Committee to consider regularisation of such colonies" is
Finally some 733 colonies were informed that they had sought (Lieutenant Governor of Delhi 2010). In these cases it is
received all the required no objection certificates from the difnot clear how long regularisation might take, or indeed, if it
ferent government agencies (gnctd Department of Urban will happen at all. Some actually existing, and built-up uacs
Development 2011b). Since then another list of 285 eligible will remain ineligible and will not benefit from investment.
colonies has been published in July 2011, and their layout plans More problematically, some of these colonies are in danger of
are under scrutiny by the chief town planner, mcd (gnctd demolition or sealing drives and thus housing arrangements
Department of Urban Development 2011a). In the meantime remain very insecure.
(as seen in Figure 2), financial resources have been allocated
and spent by the Delhi government to provide facilities in 5 The Politics of Enumeration: Engaging UAC Residents
uacs, and public works are under way in several areas after through Technologies of Citizenship
the administrative approval for development in 28 colonies The above sections have made it clear that in the process of
had been given to the mcd commissioner, Delhi Jal Board, the regularisation, enumeration, along with the creation of resi
Irrigation and Flood Control Department and the Delhi State dent welfare associations and the payment of certain penalties
Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation. Worksand duties are the most important contributions residents have
concern mainly the construction of roads, outfall drains, water to make. They have also shown that residents have had to in
supply as well as (in one case) sewer lines.18 vest a lot of time to apply for regularisation and that results of
At the same time, the scrutiny of layout plans revealed inthe drive are not yet clearly discernible. So how should we un
late 2011 that 127 colonies did not meet the criteria of beingderstand the political content of regularisation more precisely?
50% built up by 2007. The rwas of these colonies then received In my opinion, the process can be read as a coupling of three
a show-cause notice, to which 73 did not reply, raising serious different dynamics. First, as regularisation is inextricably linked
doubts about a land scam set up between the land mafia and with enumeration and location, it increases the visibility of uacs
local administrative staff and politicians. It was speculatedand aims undoubtedly at gathering data on this vast population.
that vacant land had been declared to be occupied by unau From a Foucauldian point of view, visibility is not a neutral,
thorised colonies in order to apply for regularisation and thus given feature. Rather, visibility or invisibility are produced
increase the land value (gnctd Department of Urban Develop (Dean 2010: 40). States for example seek to create visibility of
ment 2011c; Kumar 2011; Hindustan Times 2011). A report by citizens and spaces in order to attain control through fear of
Divisional Commissioner Vijay Dev was commissioned on the punishment and subsequent self-government of their subjects
issue of provision of provisional regularisation certificates (Foucault 1991). The enumeration of uacs can therefore be
(Financial Express 2012). As a result, and following heated disregarded as a form of surveillance authorities might want to
cussions between the Delhi government and the opposition, 40 establish for tighter control of the city and its inhabitants.
provisional regularisation certificates have been cancelled in Second, inhabitants are not only registered through a gov
February 2012 (gnctd Department of Urban Development 2012a). ernment-led census or registrar office, but also have to under
The landowning agencies were asked to reclaim the vacant take enumeration and data compilation themselves. These
lands and the report recommended criminal prosecution against self-enumerating practices have been associated in the past
the actors of the scam (Financial Express 2012; Times of India with liberating technologies of a "civic governmentality" (Roy
2012). Most recently, the Delhi Lokayukta has issued a show 2009) and a democratic upsurge from below (Appadurai
cause notice to the Delhi government to clarify the application 2001). They have been described as being able to "infiltrat(...)
of criteria for regularisation, and the procedure of distribution [e] the very categories through which rule is accomplished"
of provisional regularisation certificates (The Hindu 2012). (Menon 2010: 151). Certainly, there is an immense difference
Aside from possible criminal activities, other colonies didbetween a self-enumeration drive, in which informal residents
not meet the regularisation criteria because of their proximity have control over the data, and a government-initiated
to forestland, a right of way, or protected archaeological collection of data by residents. Yet, even in the former case,
monuments, as noted above. Development is not supposed toauthors have cautioned against the disciplinary effects of self
take place "where the agencies such as dda, asi, revenue or surveillance (Ley 2008), and the danger of co-option of
forest have objected (...) regarding regularisation" (gnctd gathered data by the state (Roy 2009: 165). Rather than
Department of Urban Development 2009), and special admin dwelling on the aspect of surveillance here, I propose to read
istrative provisions seem to have been agreed upon for these the self-enumeration in the context of the regularisation
cases. The minutes of a meeting of the lieutenant governor, theprocess as a "technology of citizenship" (Cruikshank 1994; Dean
minister of urban development, the dda, mcd, and other 2010: 199). These technologies of government aim to control
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people's conduct (Foucault 2007: 99) indirectly - throughcolonies

the legal acknowledgement, more full-fledged citizen
internalisation of values associated with "civility" (Roy 2009:
ship-related entitlements and concomitant allocation of public
160), where citizens are to govern themselves in a certainfunds for infrastructure.
way. In the case of unauthorised colonies, citizenship-related
rights and entitlements appear to be reframed as based on6 du
Conclusion: Indusiveness Only for 'New' Citizens
ties which precede these rights through such technologiesAgainst
(Ka the background of this analysis, the question of
beer 2005: 2). More precisely, residents of uacs are to adopt
whether regularisation offers a way forward in terms of urban
certain practices, and to take over certain responsibilities in
indusiveness remains. First, from a point of view of infrastruc
the governance of their residential areas which the state de inclusion, an analysis of regularisation shows problem
atic results. The Supreme Court has made infrastructure pro
fines as a performance of citizenship (Zimmer 2011a: 237-38).
vision mandatory in colonies before their regularisation.
This becomes particularly clear when observing, third, that
the regularisation process works - unlike in cases of many
While this shows that the government may not act on its own
slum surveys, for example, which are organised by non-govwill in disbursing funds for infrastructure, a substantial
ernmental organisations - through rwas. The push for these
increase in investments can be observed. Yet, as Bhagidari was
associations is to be understood better when consideringbased
that from the beginning on a neo-liberal agenda of with
the Delhi Human Development Report argued that "only
drawal of the state from the provision of essential services, the
through partnerships and sharing of responsibilities between
obligatory formation of rwas further indicates that inclusion in
Government and citizens can the creative potential of Delhi
the provision of public infrastructure was not necessarily the
be mobilised for the attainment of these (developmental) main goal the Delhi government pursued with its regularisation
goals and for the betterment of all" (gnctd 2006: vii). Ininitiative.
the Rather, regularisation offers the chance to spear
light of such aims, the gnctd initiated the well-known
head a new repartition of responsibilities between the state and
Bhagidari scheme in 2000 in order to create an "active, effec
its citizens with regard to public service provision. This means
tive and target-oriented citizen-government partnership" that while uac inhabitants may come to be seen as "proper"
(gnctd no date) between rwas and the state governmentcitizens
and through regularisation, the notion of citizenship itself
to institutionalise citizens' participation in governanceseems
pro to gradually lose its link with state provision of infra
cesses (Chakrabarti 2008: 2). The government claims that structure, and increasingly mean participation of citizens in a
Bhagidari gives "new meaning to democratic governance" public-private partnership for infrastructure provision. Resi
(gnctd no date). Although first devised for associations of of uacs, grateful to obtain the better legal status, will
formal colonies, Bhagidari extends now to informal settle
certainly be more easily convinced of this new understanding
ments (Chakrabarti 2008: 101). In the years since its begin
of citizenship than more privileged populations in formal col
onies. Therefore, while demanding short-term public invest
ning, Bhagidari has led to an increase of rwa responsibilities,
such as the supervision of sweepers, collection of property
ment in basic infrastructure, the increased visibility of infor
tax or the management of parks (Tawa Lama-Rewal forth
mal settlements may lead more importantly to a partial with
drawal of the state from infrastructure provision, and an
coming). The programme is thus inscribed in a larger logic
of transfer of responsibilities for basic service provision
increased legitimacy for doing so, in the long term.
from the state to non-state actors (Kabeer 2005: 17-18; Tawa
Second, from a point of view of inclusion in decision-making
Lama-Rewal forthcoming). processes, the regularisation does point to an increased
Technologies of citizenship become especially apparent as
inclusion of residents of uacs at first glance. Yet, the formation
the notion of citizenship itself is redefined through theofenu
rwas requires a specific form of associational life and
meration drive as well as Bhagidari (Srivastava 2009: 343):
organisation: formalised meetings, the adoption of the regula
citizens are to become the partners through which policiestions
are of an association, the election (or designation) of general
delivered on the ground, by which initiatives are takensecretaries,
and presidents and other leading figures, and the reg
with which governance responsibilities are shared. The istration
enu of the association under the Societies Registration Act
xxi of i860. Findings indicate that rwas usually regroup the
meration and regularisation procedure shows that if residents
want to qualify as citizens, they have to make themselvesmale, more educated, better off, and retired residents. These
residents often have both the time and knowledge (or means
knowable to the state - including the provision of information
on names and exact location. They have to participate finan
of accessing it) of the required procedures or programmes such
as Bhagidari (Zimmer 2011a: 205-06; see also Tawa Lama-Rewal
cially in the regularisation process, showing that they accept
the logic of cost-sharing between the state and citizens.forthcoming).
The This points to the fact that although uacs represent
Bhagidari programme points to the fact that residents have to be spaces where many women, illiterate residents or
daily wage labourers are resident, these groups are often
ready to organise themselves in associations, agree to hold regular
meetings with government officials, and become partners ofexcluded
the from processes of self-organisation or collective action.
With the growing importance of rwas through the regularisa
state. In a more general way, residents of uacs have to cooperate
with the state; they have to agree to become governable as process, the same groups are poorly placed to benefit from
well as collaborate in making themselves governable.19 the
Onlyproposed partnership with the state. Meanwhile, the
subsequently, the state offers inhabitants of unauthorised
enhanced visibility of rwas in uacs further increases inclusion

Economic & Political weekly EHZ3 july 28, 2012 vol xlvii no 30 95

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citizenship which includes cost-sharing, self-organisation,

for those groups of residents which already belong to more
privileged groups of society. As a result, unauthorised colonies
deliberate visibility for inspection by the state and submission to
administrative procedures. While offering to uac residents the
are increasingly transformed into "unequal space [s] of govern
ance" (Harriss 2007: 2719). opportunity to be regarded forthwith as "proper" citizens, the
aimatof the regularisation drive seems less about increasing ur
To sum up, the regularisation process, rather than aiming
ban inclusiveness. On the contrary, it appears to lie in the crea
closing the urban divide, appears to consist of a bargain between
the state and the residents of uacs: in return for an increase tion
in of a class of propertied residents who understand their citi

tenure security, individual wealth and public investment,

zenship in ways that demand active, self-organised, and finan
residents must adhere to a new, more neoliberal definition
cialofparticipation in governance processes.

NOTES 18 The full list of colonies in which administrative Cruikshank, B (1994): "The Will to Empower
approval has been given can be found at GNCTD Technologies of Citizenship and the War on
1 This dualistic representation of housing prac
Department of Urban Development (2012b). Poverty", Socialist Review, 23 (4): 29-55.
tices in cities has been criticised for being overly
19 Ghertner (2010a: 192) describes a similar strate Dean, M (2010): Governmentality: Power and Ru
rigid and missing out on the various hybrid
gy of the state, where JJC residents in the 1990s in Modern Society (London: Sage Publications)
practices of citizens (Etzold et al 2009, Leman
were "draw[n] (...) into the practice of govern Dupont, V (2004): "Socio-Spatial Differentiatio
ski and Tawa Lama-Rewal forthcoming). The
ment" by holding out the prospect of resettle and Residential Segregation in Delhi: A Ques
use of both labels is nevertheless widespread
ment in return for cooperation in slum surveys. tion of Scale?", Geoforum, 35157-75.
especially in policymaking and therefore they
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