17. Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) have emerged as a major feature of urban reforms. While being used as a ‘participatory’ facade, RWAs are also being pitted against the interests of other social groups, such as slum dwellers and street vendors. The National Policy for Street Vendors provides for the role of RWAs in the eviction of vendors, that too in the name of democratic participation. In general, the poor and slum-dwelling populations remain structurally excluded, and often in conflict with the RWAs, which are usually dominated by the relatively more privileged middle classes. Wherever possible, we should make efforts for a democratic intervention in the RWAs, keeping in mind their potential to emerge as platforms for struggles against corruption and for local amenities, and resist the anti-poor trends both in the policy framework and the functioning of the RWAs.

18. To conclude, Party organizations in urban areas must develop a wider vision and comprehensive agenda of urban work and follow an integrated approach in translating it into reality. Faced with the ongoing urban restructuring and the ruling class drive to turn Indian cities into investor-friendly elitist enclaves, the battle for reclaiming the urban space has acquired a new intensity and we must fight it wholeheartedly with the battle-cry of citizens’ rights, dignity and democracy.