Mission 24

- A collaborative civic initiative to turn around Mumbai’s M-East ward

Mission 24 is a 24 month long civic initiative aimed at bringing basic amenities to all people living in Mumbai’s M-East ward. The ward is right at the bottom - 24th out of the 24 wards - with regard to all human development indices.

M-East Ward - Background View

Ensconced within Mumbai’s M-East Municipal Ward is Shivaji Nagar, an elusive reality – neither in sync with the current rhetoric of smart cities, nor oblivious to the age old dynamic of development planning that has excluded the urban poor. What makes the situation most intriguing is the fact that the M-East Ward itself is a vision in paradoxes. While on one hand, there are the meticulously laid out green zones of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Deonar Village and Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers (RCF), the other glimpse is that of the sprawling slum settlement adjoining the Deonar Dumping Ground – one of the most hazardous mountains of toxicity within the city limits!

The Development Plan exercise implied to bring method to city planning and judicious utilisation of spaces seems to have hit a roadblock when it comes to spatial allocation in the M-East Ward. Already estimated to house the largest slum population of the city, the M-East Ward falls second in the ratio of demand for amenities in comparison to their availability. The deficit of educational, health, social and recreational amenities is estimated at 77 hectares for the projected population of 10.69 lakh. The eastern suburbs has the largest demand gap for built amenities (schools, hospitals, public toilets, fire stations etc.) accounting to 687.14 hectares .Apnalaya’s recent survey report  that studied 6300 households, brings out some of the most glaring figures of inadequacies related to basic amenities and access to minimum standards of living as follows:

  • The average Indian life expectancy is 67 years. Here, the lowest average age at death, a proxy indicator for Life Expectancy is 39 years
  • The infant mortality rate national average is 38 of 1000 live births.  Here, the figure is twice as bad. 66!
  • There is only one Government Hospital. In one of its largest slum pockets, with a population of 600000 (Six lakh people) there is just one government dispensary and not a single Nationalised Bank
  • There is no government run secondary school. Seven out of ten girls drop out of school before Class IX
  • This area has one of Asia’s largest waste dumping grounds, where the rubbish collected is already 13 storeys high

Mission 24 is a call to all those concerned - government departments, the MCGM, civil society individuals and organizations, NGOs, community groups, corporates and philanthropists - to join hands and transform the ward by bringing some of the most urgent amenities into the ward in the next 24 months - amenities like hospitals and schools, water and drainage systems, play grounds and banks - without which a life with dignity and self-respect is unthinkable.