The overwhelming fact of India, beside the 110+ degree temperatures, is the vast number of poor people in the urban areas. The photo gives a small sense of what is actually a ‘high end’ slum area in Bhubaneswar. The bigger cities are worse, remember Mumbai (Bombay) in Slum Dog Millionaire?
The slums are generally well identified areas in most cities because they have no public utilities (water, sewer, electricity, certainly not cable). These are communities, not people living in the streets, and many of the people have unskilled jobs. The women are remarkable under the circumstances and are the glue that holds India together. USAID has a pilot project in Bhubaneswar to bring water to several slum areas. It seems to be working, but it’s literally a drop in the bucket.
The problem is sheer numbers. People come to the city to get a job and are happy with a few dollars a day to hall dirt, carry concrete or split rocks on a construction job. The cities just can’t keep up with the volume and slums pop up and expand. It’s the biggest problem in India and no one has an answer.